Once Upon a Time…
There was a young Christian woman who got very excited whenever a missionary would come to church to tell of their adventures in advancing the gospel around the world. She would sit at the edge of her seat, fascinated by their zeal for the Lord, their bravery, and their wisdom. Then she would leave church mesmerized by visions of their stories replaying over and over in her head, when all of a sudden, an intruding voice would disrupt everything.
“That could be you,” it would prompt. To which she would immediately reply, “Oh no! That could NEver be me! I could NEver be THAT brave or THAT wise!”
“Never that….” “Never this….” “That one can, but NEver me!” Have you heard those words before? Have you ever spoken them yourself?
I confess, that woman was me. But now that I’m actually one of those who I could NEver be, I know better. I understand today that what I was doing back then was imprudently creating spiritual giants out of ordinary men and women. I limited my focus to what my physical eyes saw and ears heard–the humans standing before me. And I totally missed that the stories those human beings were relaying were authored by and played out in the strength and wisdom of God. The spiritual giant was and always is God, not man. Man, you might say, plays the supporting role, even though at times he or she appears to be the hero.
I finally became a missionary when I was 43 (when Tanie heard and immediately responded to the call), and one of the first exercises I put myself through once I believed I actually could be “one of those,” was to ask why I put it off for so long. What were all those NEvers about? It was fairly easy to figure out.
I compared myself to those other missionaries and saw myriad differences between us, and with little effort, those differences served as adequate reasons for me to disqualify myself.
But “they” can’t define my qualifications, especially for a job or task that the One who created me calls me to…NEVER!
And what problems did those spiritual giants that I created cause me? Blindness. I couldn’t see “me” being in “their” place. Worse off, I couldn’t (or more honestly, wouldn’t) see God putting me in their place. And I delayed God’s God-sized dream for me. Suffice it to say, creating those giants caused more than just blindness, but I think I’ve gotten my point across.
So, the Moral of the Story Is…
Spiritual giants don’t exist in human form, so don’t waste your time creating them. And NEver use them as an excuse to say NEver to God about something He wants to do with your life.
(By the way, the kind of ministry that God put Tanie and me in just “happens” to be healing ministry and care for missionaries, because the truth is…missionaries really are human.)