What Really Qualifies Us Three Days Later?
"God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called."
I get it. I get what that is supposed to mean to me, but if I'm being honest, I don't always feel called or qualified. Can anyone else identify? The fact is that life is happening, three days after Easter. The stone did push back the grave for me and for you, but it didn't stop this world from spinning, stop my flesh from sputtering, stop darkness from trying. Now, three days later, I've got to figure out how to make my life revolve around that empty tomb rather than the grave I used to be headed for. It's no easy thing, living in the light of forever while everywhere we look is decay.
This is why I say that sometimes I just don't feel qualified or called.
It has nothing to do with religion, but I did think so once. It really isn't about how hard I work, how much I do that looks good in God's eyes. Really, nothing I have to offer comes anywhere close to what Jesus holds in his scarred hands, but that hasn't stopped me from trying. See, I forget...I forget, sometimes, to believe that Jesus is enough and so, I start making lists of my qualities, my qualifications.
"I can do this pretty well, Lord."
"Lay it in my hands."
"But Lord, don't you like my list I made of what I can do?"
"Will you please lay it in my hands...."
He says that, a lot, and I start to see this picture in my heart. I see his wounded hands, mangled and scarred from my mistakes. I see my redemption in those hands and I realize something. It really has nothing to do with qualification. He isn't roaming the Earth looking for someone who has a really good list put together and he certainly isn't looking for someone who hasn't messed up.
I'm standing there, beside my Savior, and I've got my hands full of all my stuff. All the things I've collected that I think might be impressive to a holy God are clutched close. I look over at his hands, and I see only scars. He holds nothing else in his hands, just mangled flesh.
But those mangled hands are far more beautiful than anything I've collected.
I'm convinced and so, I lay it all there in his hands. All the things I've collected that I thought might make me good enough, might qualify me. And do you know what happens to all my stuff? It all just dissolves right there before me so that all I see is those scars.
He looks at me with kindness, not disdain. He didn't mock me when I gave all that stuff over to him. He simply got rid of what stood between me and him, between his scars and me. So, I see clearly that there is only one thing, only the one thing that qualifies me to be called by my God....
Yes, I believe that is it. He isn't looking for fully qualified, he's looking for fully surrendered. We're all running around with our stuff that we think makes us worthy. We've got our lists, our accomplishments, all the things we think a holy God wants to see....
but he really just wants us to surrender it all.
The qualifying work was the cross. No need to work any harder to be qualified. It's finished, three days after Easter, when life keeps happening and the grave seems more real than the empty tomb.
It really is finished.
So, I guess that little church phrase does hold some weight. I guess, really, he doesn't call the qualified because there is no such thing. What he does do is call each unqualified, imperfect person. He whispers our names right there in front of that empty tomb, and he says only one thing.
He doesn't need me, he wants me...and being wanted is far more precious than being needed. So, all my pretend qualifications I will lay in his hands. The tomb is empty and Jesus wears the scars of his choice.
He chooses us.
And that is all the qualification we need.