You might have heard the saying, “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called” but have you ever sat down and unpacked what it means?
God doesn’t call the qualified…. This is great hope for us, or at least for anyone that desires to be used by God for His purposes. It is reassuring to know that God is no respecter of persons and that He can choose anybody to do whatever He wants. We see this countless times in Scripture. Anyone can be chosen at any time and it shows how amazing God is when an ordinary person does something so unexpected. However, that saying can make it easy to forget that there’s work involved. God doesn’t just choose someone, put a stamp on their head and say, “Alright. Off you go then”. There’s always work to be done.
So how do we become qualified? Well it’s different for every single person. Let’s look in Scripture:
- Joseph had to work his way up the ranks and start interpreting dreams in prison before he got to Pharaoh (Genesis 40-41)
- Esther had to go through a year of preparation before becoming a queen (Esther 2:12)
- Daniel studied books and spent time in prayer in order to understand what the Lord was saying about His people (Daniel 9)
- David spent years taking care of sheep as a shepherd before he started taking care of nations as a king (1 Samuel 16-17)
- Gideon had to have a few lessons in trusting God before He could go out and lead armies (Judges 6-7)
- The disciples were just normal men who needed to spend time with Jesus so they could faithfully continue His work after His ascension (Acts 4:13-22)
- And then of course there’s Jesus Himself, our chief example who spent His years on earth teaching, praying and performing miracles that when He finally went to the cross, there would be no doubt in anyone’s mind that He is the Son of God who gives salvation to all those who truly believe
Now, some of them knew from the beginning that they had been called, others weren’t told explicitly. One of them was even thinking that the angel had got the wrong person but every single one of them did what God needed them to do. They put the work in.
A few weeks ago, late one night I was on my way home and I was beyond tired and I remember thinking to myself: why on earth am I doing this? The answer came to me fairly quickly. I don’t want to give anyone a reason to say that I’m not qualified to do what I know the Lord wants me to do. That’s not so I can say that I achieved all my accomplishments through my own doing but so I can be fully equipped to do what I’ve been called to do. Imagine a child being told that they’re going to be a pilot one day. Will the child now go and start flying straight away? Of course not. If they took that calling seriously, they would get the necessary qualifications that would lead them in that direction.
I think it would serve every believer well to carry a similar attitude. If you know you have been called to a certain area, think about the skills and qualifications you might need to be successful in that field. If you need to do a course, raise money to enrol. If you need to practice a skill, make time to practise and improve. Work hard and trust that God can multiply whatever you give Him. Yes, you may have been unqualified when you were called but that doesn’t mean you need to stay that way. Remember this in the following year. More grace to you as you begin to or continue to walk in your calling.