Disqualified Kendall Lankford
April 23, 2018
Jesus said to Kendall Lankford, “Kendall, son of Terry, do you love me more than these?” and Kendall said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Kendall, son of Terry, do you love me?” Kendall said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Kendall, son of Terry, do you love me?” and Kendall was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. - John 21:15-17
insert your name above
I am not sure if there is a more relatable passage in all of the Bible than this one. Like Peter, Jesus needed to sit me down and reorient my perspective. I needed Jesus to take me through the process of restoration, because along the way I had picked up a tremendous amount of guilt and shame for all of the times I had fallen short.
I know that my name is not in the actual passage, but it may as well have been. In fact, I think we all could write our name in this text.
In one way or another...
We all feel disqualified
We want to be used by God, but we do not feel worthy. We look around at everyone else being used by God and we imagine that their lives are perfect (or at least they do not struggle with sin like we do). So we hide. We go to church, but we don't feed any sheep. We go to work, but we avoid any "tending". We live broken never dreaming to be used because who would ever want to listen to us?
Why? Because we know better than anyone else how deeply we have failed. We know the version of ourselves that we dare never talk about and pray no one ever sees. We know all of the secret thoughts, all of the struggles, all of the sins, all of the insecurities, and when we are already struggling to carry that, being used by God seems like a distant dream.
But, there is one profound reason why we actually CAN be used by God. Yes ALL of us. And that is because
Being used by God is NOT about US!
If being used by God is primarily about me then I would already be disqualified. If it is about becoming a better version of myself, then I will never get there. This may come as a shock to some, but I am not qualified. I am not good. I am a wretched sinner that should have been benched if it was all about me. Even on my very best days, I am just like that seminary student that Kyle mentioned; I am acutely aware of all of my shortcomings, sins, and failures, and riddled with self-doubt.
I am just speaking for myself here, but if God's ability to use me was based on me and my performance, then I would never be used by God to do anything.
But here is the unbelievable good news that Kyle reminded us of: It is not based on us.
Being used by God is all about Him.
It is not our power at work, it is His. It is not our talent, it is His! It's not our past that disqualifies us, it is His mission that propels us into the future! God does not use us because we are qualified on our own; He uses us because His Son has qualified us. Jesus Christ has qualified me; He has qualified you; if you are in Christ, then
You are not disqualified!
No matter how you feel, you are not disqualified. Say it out loud - again and again - if you still don't believe it!