September 28, 2009
Sarah Jennings, Crosswalk.com Family Editor
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. .
1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV
I agreed to help teach religious education at my church this year. It sounded like fun when I signed on. ("Sure, I'd love to work with the high school kids!")
Yesterday, I got to meet those kids, or should I say… young adults. Some of them were taller than me. Some clearly expressed their desire to be elsewhere. All of them sat silently, awaiting direction from the lead teacher and me.
As I stood at the head of the class with the lead, I silently wondered if this was such a good idea. What would I say to these kids? Would they even listen? And where is a podium to hide my fidgety hands behind??? (The room was set up so that the teachers just stood in front of the class … no desk or podium).
I don't know, God. Surely someone else is more qualified to teach this class than me.
Perhaps some of you can relate. With our recent economic woes, insecurity is high. Searching for just the right job can be almost as painful as searching for the right spouse… rejection takes its toll, our personal weaknesses internally gnaw away at us, and temptations to play the comparison game skyrocket.
As I wrestled with my own feelings of inadequacy, I remembered a story told at a conference I attended a few years ago by a wise priest from the Bronx. His name is Fr. Benedict Groeschel, and he spent some time working with Mother Teresa during her lifetime. When he first met Mother, she put him in charge of something important. After repeated failures, Fr. Groeschel approached her. Their conversation played out something like this:
"Mother, I just don't think I am the right person for this job. In fact, I think I am the least qualified priest to do this job."
Mother gave him a stern look. "That is why I chose you."
Perplexed (and undoubtedly humbled), Groeschel inquired why she would choose him based on his lack of qualifications.
"Because then people will know that any good you do comes from God, not from you. That is what I pray for my own work. That people do not look at me and see me as someone special, but look at me and see God. I pray that when I die, I will be replaced by the most humble, least loved, and least adequate nun. That way people will clearly see that the good that comes from this work has little to do with me and everything to do with God."
Puts things in perspective, doesn't it?
When I reflect on Mother Teresa's thoughts to Fr. Groeschel, I am reminded that God doesn't necessarily expect me to be the most qualified candidate for every job - he may not even want me to be the most qualified candidate.
That's not to say God doesn't want to use our gifts or our brains. But it's easy to lose sight of the fact that the work we do, in every realm, is really more about God than it is about us. And if we lean on him and let him work through us, we'll be up to any challenge.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Is there a job you've been asked to do that you don't feel qualified for? Relax, do what is asked of you, and let God do the rest.