by: Staci Stallings
Last time we talked about not feeling qualified to do what God is calling you to do. Here’s another story from the Bible that brings home that point.
In the Old Testament, there is the story of a prophet sent to warn the Israelites of God’s anger about what they were doing. The prophet’s name was Amos, and his story is contained in the Biblical book by that name. One part of this story struck me recently as I have been contemplating what it means to be a Prophet — someone intent on sowing God Seed.
First, read the passage in which Amos has been brought before Amaziah and is about to be cast out of the region for prophesying there.
Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet,
nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me,
Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”
What I love about this passage is that God didn’t call the high priest or the people in the Temple. Instead, he called a local businessman to proclaim His intentions.
I so remember a wonderful friend of mine shortly after I got immersed in God stuff. Now we had been going to church since we were babies, but somehow we got taught that “God stuff” was for those who knew what they were reading. It was “over our heads.” To be fair, a lot of the God stuff was really under our feet and in our hearts–it was the way we lived and treated others. But reading the Bible? Understanding the Bible? That was for someone much more qualified than we were.
So she called one day when we were in our 20’s and she said, “What’re you doing?” To which I replied honestly, “Reading the Bible, and this part is fascinating.” She got very quiet and literally said, “Oh, we’re not supposed to read the Bible like that. Don’t you think we need someone else to explain it?”
Thankfully I didn’t laugh out loud at her though I probably came very close, and in the ensuing many years, we have laughed together about that conversation many, many times. Yet it still always kind of bothers me that we sometimes get the message that “God stuff”–understanding and wisdom–is for someone much more learned than we are.
That’s why I love this passage. In effect, Amos is saying, “Look, dude. This isn’t about me. I didn’t pick this calling on my heart, God put it there. I’m just following what He told me to do. I was a shepherd and a tree mender. Trust me, this whole prophet thing is way outside of what I ever thought I would be doing too. But God called me, and here I am.”
I feel like Amos a lot actually. Who am I to be seeing insights in the Bible or in what others say? Who am I to understand things that don’t have solid, concrete, real-world, everybody-can-see-it qualities?
I don’t know. All I know is, like Amos, I was a simple housewife. I was a high school teacher. I was just someone off the street, and then God called me and here I am.
If you’ve ever felt that way, know that you’re not alone! God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called, and just like Amos and me, you may well find yourself going, “Look, this isn’t about me. It’s about God. He called me, and here I am.”
And in all honesty, it’s not such a bad place to be once you get used to saying, “I was…”