Usable even when you are not capable.

I recently led the devotion at our church breakfast. Here was my message. I have to apologize to Luke for not telling him I am speaking today.  He is my greatest encourager but I knew that if I told him I would rely on his encouragement and not seek God’s and I needed this to be between me and God – for me to fully rely on him for the courage to speak and to make my words pleasing to Him.

I want you to listen to this promise.  The Bible in Luke 12:11-12 says, “And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say; 12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.”

Today this is not about me. In fact I caution my kids about using that word too much. So when I use the word I please know that I am a sinner and I have failed so many times when God has called me to do something because I am capable but I have not made myself usable.  Today, me standing here is about surrender. It is about yielding to a tugging in my heart to do what I know God has asked me to do many times before in one form or another and I declined because of fear. The thing is that as I stand here I know God is with me, I know that I am standing before brothers and sisters in Christ and I know that no matter how bad that I might stumble on my words that the point of my being here is far beyond me- it is about doing the what God has asked me to do many times before.  It’s about being usable.  

I have wrestled with this a long time.  So today I want to ask that you pray for me.  I am thankful to this church for the growth that I have experienced. Our church gives us lots of opportunities to grow but we in the flesh have to be willing to step out on faith.  I have allowed God to use me many times in my life but it was always on my terms it seems.

I was saved when I was 7 years old.  It was Easter Sunday morning in 1978.  I remember feeling called to walk forward and ask God into my life yet at 7 my testimony of salvation was pretty simple.  I believed in God and knew I didn’t want to go to hell, I loved the Lord and I wanted to be a part of His family forever. It was vividly real and is to this day and I understood completely that I was proclaiming Jesus as my Lord and Savior – that feeling of wanting to please Him and belong to Him never left me and various times in my walk in life I felt called to do more -and so I have lead a women’s Bible study and lead youth, taught Sunday School, gone on mission trips where we repaired a church and held back yard Bible School all roles where I blended into groups, but I have always had a fear of one on one witnessing to others.  I have never been ashamed for people to know I am a Christian, however, I had a fear of not knowing what to say, of saying the wrong thing, of not knowing the Bible well enough that someone might know more and trip me up. I was capable but there is a difference between being capable and being usable.

It was only recently that I asked God to make me usable.  I have wanted to be usable but something always stopped me from saying those words because I knew God was just waiting to hear them and I wasn’t sure what He would do with me when I finally gave into them.  I have chased big dreams, had great careers, been blessed with lots of education and the Lord has been good to me. He has given me a wonderful life with opportunities to sit in top positions where I worked, travel, make good money, build businesses, serve on boards and have my name known and I thrived at these things and yet the closer I got to Him, the more none of those things mattered to me.  And that is where I am today. What stood out to me is that with all of those things that in the worlds eyes would deem me successful that He permitted me to be and do and which are truly blessings, those things left me empty compared to the feeling I get from doing just some simple act that He asked me to do – and I mean simple stuff – like something that didn’t require much of me but that he put on my heart and that I yielded to and said yes to instead of no.  That very small and insignificant thing honored Him in some small way and though it was barely worthy of much, He was glorified because of my obedience and that filled my soul like nothing else I had ever done. I felt like I did as a little girl doing something a little girl would do to please her daddy. It makes me so happy. I have learned that At the core of these simple things is one common thread. The things that make me feel whole are the things I do in service and surrender to God.  Of all of the experience and education that the Lord has permitted me to have, the skills He is calling me to use are not those – they are the spiritual gifts He created me with from the beginning- acts of service such as hospitality, a tender heart, compassion, the desire to work hard and help others and a willingness to be usable to further His kingdom. Things that aren’t deemed important in business or as a path to accomplishing success – at least by the world’s standards. The things that matter to people at the most basic level, like inviting someone to our table for a meal, dropping off a coat, those are things that come so easy for me to do.  They are things that bless others in a very small way and I have always loved doing these things but I underestimated their ability to reach others for Christ and I totally skipped right past how these things open doors to witness to people. I missed out on some great chances to use what was right in front of me because I was so busy doing what I thought I was supposed to do be successful according to the world. I missed what God was wanting from me because I was capable but had not made myself usable.  

When I first heard that verse I read earlier in Luke – when I truly heard it and applied it,  it was truly life altering. I was very convicted because I believe the Bible as truth and if the Lord promised me He would give me the words to say to witness to someone then feeding someone was not enough.  I knew that the food was to meet their physical needs but that I was being called to share with them the only thing that could ever meet their spiritual needs and that was the Word of God.  

So I asked God to make me usable.  To help me get over my fear. To trust His promise that He would give me the words.  To help me surrender to what He was asking for me to do. I prayed for opportunities to go from being just capable to being usable.  Because capable means you are able to do something. And if you are not capable – God will grant you the ability. But Being usable means you have your heart right, your attitude right, you are willing, yielding and trusting no matter what,  without stipulations or negotiations with God.

I was really nervous to be up here today.  But I am being pecked on the shoulder by God.  He has let me know that fear is a liar and because we are not promised tomorrow and that every person I meet, it just might be their only chance to come to know Him. And even though sometimes I am still afraid of Him asking more of me that I think I might can do,  I am trusting in His word and I am using my everyday ordinary life to serve Him. 

The Bible says, “He will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Phillipians 4:13

These are more than wall hangers guys.  if we believe in them and apply them, they will give you a calm and a confidence like nothing else can.  Just ask Him to make you usable then trust Him, step out on faith and obey Him when he gives you the opportunity to witness. Use your ordinary everyday life – your broken faucet, your flat tire, a spare coat, the slowest line at the store, a trip to the ER – whatever God gives you, be usable in that circumstance and It will work out beautifully every time.   

Today you can stand on His promise that He will be right there with you. 

According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, where it be by life or by death.  Phillipians 1:20

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians

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