July 29, 2014


You are not “just” a forgiven sinner. To call yourself that cheapens the mercy extended you and the broad strokes of the story that led to such sacrifice. To continue to call yourself a sinner after you've been forgiven places no confidence in the One who forgives, does it? It is not “just” a gift; to say such a thing cheapens the gift and insults the giver, does it not? You are not “just” a leader; to call yourself that places no confidence in the One who called you in the first place, does it? You are not “just” a volunteer; to say this puts down the tasks you have taken on yourself - without pay - and the ones who desperately need your help but can’t afford to pay you, does it not? You are not “just” an artist or musician or writer; if you were, beauty would mean very little in the grand scheme of things, art would be of little worth, and if it were true, everything could be expressed in a bullet point anyway.

You are not “just” anything.

You are a leader, a child of the most High; you have been called a friend.

Stop talking or thinking or acting as though this is “just” anything.

If you aren't confident in the One who called you, it will show in the way you speak, because the rest of us can learn a lot about you by the language you choose to use. You must speak and act with intention, purpose, with the conviction of one who has been grafted into a story as bold as ours. A story that claims, not only did the Creator enact reconciliation with His creation, not only did He take on its very nature, not only are sins forgiven, but that our God has the audacity to regularly transform sinners into leaders whom people can trust and even follow.

It is a false humility to say “just” about this sort of calling. You are called to serve where you have been placed and to say “just” is to try to pass off the responsibility entrusted to you; “I’m just called” is to say “blame God when I fail and you don't like it.” It is an attempt to pass the buck in advance, to avoid owning your part. As the old saying goes, humility isn't thinking less of yourself, it's thinking and speaking of yourself less. But when you do, don't cheapen or downplay the gift and dishonor the giver; speak honestly, and if possible, modestly.

What will you do?Because that is part of what it means to be a partner in the economy of God, or, if you like, an heir of His Kingdom: responsibility for your own actions and choices. Yes, you will make mistakes, and yes, people will not always like your choices or style or even petty things like the way you look, talk, or even smell. They might not like where or who you came from. But you needn’t apologize for these things; you are still called. You were still chosen. You still have an important role to play that cannot and should not be done by anybody else. Own your mistakes, but also own your successes! And praise God for both, because in both you've learned something and God has been glorified, one way or another!

You can - and should - always live in the confidence of your calling. God does not call you to a place or circumstances He does not think you can handle. More than likely, you will require His aid (those who have come before you can attest to the truth of this), but this should not be unexpected or even inconvenient because His aid is always available and offered.

God is ahead of you, preparing the way.

God is behind you, guarding your back.

Speak intentionally.

Live boldly.

This post originally appeared on the ECC Worship Blog in July 2012, and is reposted with permission. You know, because I wrote it.


Scott Toren said...

Great post, and one I needed to read. I am very good at generating a list of times I've failed or screwed up, but I always trivialize my wins. If I do something wrong it's because I'm not good enough or strong enough or smart enough. But if I win it becomes "well, anyone could've brought about the same result; there's nothing that I specifically brought to the table that changed the outcome for the better". Very good challenge to my own internal monologue.

Chris said...

I think that's fairly par for the course, especially among those of a more artistic temperament. And by extension, it's easy to see why the "gospel of guilt" is so damaging - we're already convinced we're dirt, we don't need people finding more reasons for that. What we need is the hope that comes from God's intent for us, that He created us good and that He's already at work transforming us ...