Equipping the Called - Encouragement Café - May 22, 2017

Equipping the Called
By Beth Mabe Gianopulos

Monday, May 22, 2017

“This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details. When it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God’s way, I was the least qualified of any of the available Christians. God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities. And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ. My task is to bring out in the open and make plain what God, who created all this in the first place, has been doing in secret and behind the scenes all along. Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!”“   Ephesians 3:7-10 MSG

Have you ever felt a nudge in your spirit to talk to a stranger and offer them comfort?  There were times when I followed that nudge.  However, there are also times that I talked myself out of it.  I told myself, "They will think I am crazy.  It will be awkward to talk to a stranger.  What if I have no idea what to say?"

Or, perhaps, God has been whispering that you should do something outside of your comfort zone, like travel on a short term mission trip.  Have you listened?  Or did you think, "What if I get sick?  What if I die?  Isn't it irresponsible to travel to such a dangerous place?  What if I can't communicate due to the language barrier?  What if I can't do the work that they ask me to do?"

There are times in our lives when we know that the Holy Spirit is gently whispering to us, "Go to them.....Buy that person a meal. Serve at the battered women's shelter. Pray for your coworker right now. Speak to a group about your pain and your struggles. Go to the orphans in Mexico and show them my love." 

Although our heart's desire is to follow God, we often allow the lies of the enemy and self-doubt to creep in. 

In Ephesians 3:8-10, Paul shares that his "life work" was to help people understand God's message.  Paul goes on to say that this work was a "sheer gift to [him]", with "God handling all the details." 

Paul goes so far as to say that he "was the least qualified of ANY of the available Christians. 

Despite Paul's awareness that he was not qualified, Paul spent the remainder of his life doing the exact work that he was completely unqualified to do.  Paul preached and wrote about things that he said were way over his head.  I am sure that Paul had self-doubt. 

How could a man who had persecuted and killed Christians not doubt his ability to share a message of hope and love?  Yet Paul also realized that, "God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities."

I have sometimes failed to follow God's plan for my "life work" because I have doubted my own abilities.  I have chalked my self-doubt up to "humility," or I have rationalized it by saying that I am simply being "realistic" about the gifts and talents that I currently have. 

However, if I am honest, I failed to follow God in those moments because I lacked faith.  I allowed fear and doubt to stand in the way of God's gift to me.  I put my trust in my abilities, and I failed to trust God to give me the ability to do what he was calling me to do. 

If God is calling you to do something, the Bible assures us time and again that God will equip you to do it!  God will not call you to take action and then leave you alone to fail. 

Jesus, Thank You equipping us to do our life work.  Help us to trust You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

© 2017 by Beth Mabe Gianopulos.  All rights reserved.

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Originally published Monday, 22 May 2017.