Some moons ago, my son was ten and his soccer coach announced he would not be returning to coach the team the next season. As the other parents stood shoulder to shoulder listening to the coach’s words, apparently I was doing the standing part, but not the listening part, and so missed the most essential portion of his address: “Which one of you is willing to step up and coach this team next fall?” It seems that while I watched distant cloud formations, the more attentive parents (everyone else) responded to the coach’s query by taking one understated, albeit important, step backwards. Unwittingly, I had just volunteered. “I really don’t have time to coach,” I protested, “I have too much going on in my life right now.” I coached that team for three years.
In the biblical account of David and Goliath, no one was willing to step up and face the Philistine giant as he provoked all would-be challengers: “Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you [the Israelites] shall be our servants and serve us” (1Samuel 17:8a-9). While other more qualified men of Israel took tail and ran, David, the youngest and smallest of the lot, essentially shrugged his shoulders and said “Sure, I’ll do it.” We all know who won.
Admittedly, to compare David’s heroics to my soccer blunder is presumptuous. One might say the stakes were a bit higher for David. The survival of a nation trumps winning a U10 recreational-soccer game; not to mention, David exhibited the virtue of bravery. I “volunteered” by virtue of being easily distracted. So yes, the differences between the behavior of David and that of myself are cavernous. But there is at least one strand of connection between the future king of Israel and not only me, but each one of us. Namely, whenever and wherever God calls us forth, we are conspicuously too small for the task. Catch that? We’re in over our heads–as were so many of the great men and women of the Bible. Although their heroic exploits make our own life-accomplishments seem trivial, take a closer look at these great figures (Jacob, Rahab, the Apostle Peter, et al.) and you’ll notice a pattern: God rarely chooses the most skilled or talented people to accomplish His objectives. Instead, He seems to delight in choosing ordinary, under-qualified, and yes, flawed men and women to accomplish them. The common thread that unites these people is their love of God and their availability to His purposes.
It’s been said that God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called. Though coaching soccer seemed like happenstance at the time (given our record, I know certain parents who won’t need further convincing), I now see it as God’s plan all along. Though reluctant at first, I came to enjoy coaching and the providential opportunity to teach these young boys values that transcend sports.
At various times throughout our lives we each are given opportunities which seem beyond our capabilities. Are we up to the task? Of course not. If only the mighty among us were meant to be heroes, what need for a mighty God?
I hope this encourages you to be available when God calls today.
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