Originally posted Dec. 31, 2012, at A Front View Pew. Republished with permission of the author.
I’ve served on two different call committees, and listening to each candidate’s story taught me something about how people respond to God’s call to serve in ministry. Being on the nominating committee this year, however, has allowed me to see the call process from a different perspective.
A new year at church typically means committees need new members and councils need new officers. But here’s the thing: We can only pick from those who are available. This is not to say that there isn’t an abundance of wonderfully gifted people in our congregation. We are blessed with folks with a wide variety of gifts. We have builders, farmers, cooks, teachers, doctors, accountants, scientists, nurses, pharmacists, custodians, secretaries, musicians, writers, speakers, just to name a few. The list goes on.
The nominating committee doesn’t assign people to open positions. We ask. And that is where I’ve gained a new appreciation, because sometimes they say no. It surprises me, but it really shouldn’t.
Why do people refuse? Sometimes they believe they aren’t qualified. They think that there has to be someone else who could do a better job than they could do. They decide what they have to offer isn’t good enough. But we can’t put someone on the ballot who doesn’t say “yes,” no matter how highly regarded they are by the nominating committee.
This is going to seem like quite a stretch at first, but bear with me. Remember the scene from the 1980 movie “Airplane” when Ted Striker is summoned to the cockpit because both of the pilots have become incapacitated?
Rumack : “Can you fly this plane, and land it?” Striker: “Surely you can’t be serious.” Rumack: “I am serious and don’t call me Shirley.”
Striker tries to give some excuses about not having the right kind of experience to fly this type of aircraft, but the reality is there isn’t anyone else on that plane at that time that is better qualified.
What has that got to do with the church? When God wants something done, God calls someone in that place at that time to do it. The Bible is full of people who don’t appear to be the best candidates but are called for a specific purpose in spite of (or maybe precisely because of) their apparent shortcomings.
I’m not going to outline all the examples, but Mary has got to be at the top of the list. If God can use a teenage virgin to bear the Savior of the world, God can use you.
Find a link to Anita Tebben Nuetzman’s blog A Front Pew View at Lutheran Blogs.
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