But Who?

June 14, 2020

I’ve had many zoom conversations over the last several weeks that spoke in terms of hopelessness, helplessness, and frustration:

  • Covid -19
  • Racism
  • Political chaos
  • Lack of accountability
  • Dubious leadership
  • Poverty
  • Sex trafficking

And that’s just the tip of the conversational iceberg!

So many challenges and concerns identified and labeled.  So much anger. So much name calling. So much blame.  So many conversations ending in frustrated sighs and some version of the pronouncements that ‘The world has gone mad! Someone needs to DO something!’ 

But WHO?????

If a leader would just rise up – we would follow!  If a solution could be found – we would live into it. If a bill were passed – we would comply. If an aggressive protest must be engaged as the most effective way to fix things– sign us up!  But WHO is this person we are willing to follow?????  WHO will take the actions needed to make things better?

Something needs to change – someone needs to do something! 

But WHO?????

Did it ever occur to each of us that if we are able to identify a situation in need of changing – that the WHO being called to lead the change might be me?!?  Might be you?!?  Might be us??!!??!!?? 

When God reveals a challenge to us and stirs us up – it is my belief that God intends to use us to meet it!

Oftentimes, God chooses the most unsuspecting souls – the most unnoticed, unremarkable, least powerful, and the seemingly least influential, to bring about the greatest changes for God’s glory. 

A common thread among the chosen ones is their passion. 

They may not seem to be natural leaders in the world’s estimation, but they have a passion about an issue, a challenge, an injustice and that makes them perfect instruments in the hand of a passionate, just, and perfect God.  Think about those persons God called in times of challenge in the scripture.  Sure, some of them stepped right up to the plate – David is the poster child for that!  He didn’t bat an eye when facing Goliath.  He had a confidence in God and God’s power to use him that was truly amazing. But such people can be discouraging as well – what if we aren’t like David – do we get a pass?

Well, here’s the thing.

The overwhelming scriptural accounts of leaders passionately making a difference for God are those ‘others’ in scripture who were initially unwilling and fearful to act. Many had ready excuses for why God should rethink choosing them. They are the ones who are the most helpful to me in my own struggles to act on what bothers me and stirs my soul.

Three examples that come immediately to mind are:

Moses, though passionate for his people, had many excuses not to act. He didn’t think anyone would believe God had spoken to him (maybe he thought that even after 40 years as a fugitive for murdering an Egyptian there would still be some who remembered and turned him in). As if that weren’t enough, Moses stuttered. But God didn’t care. “Speak truth to power, Moses! You are going to free My people from slavery! And, oh, by the way, and I will send your brother whom you haven’t seen in 40 years to speak for you.” (Exodus 3:1-14, 4:1-17)

Gideon was a fearful and hopeless young man – passionate for his nation, but fearful of the marauding hordes of the Midian tribes. So fearful and hopeless, that he was in the habit of grinding his grain in a wine press! Yet God didn’t see fear – God saw a warrior and called Gideon to stand up for his people. (Judges 6:1-16) Gideon became a great military leader, a judge, and a prophet who led his people in strength.

Elijah had prophet fatigue and wanted to quit. He felt like a solitary voice speaking God’s word to a apostate king and his evil wife with very limited results – passionate for leading his people in the faith but totally burned out. God wasn’t ready to call it a day just yet. “Elijah, you aren’t alone there were 7000 other believers just waiting for you to lead them –  plus 3 who would share leadership in the face of any challenge!  (1 Kings 19)

The challenges were great, easily identified, and needed to be overcome – but WHO would do the job!  Who would lead? Surely it would take people of power working in massive ways……!

Or….maybe…it would take just one.

Just one person with passion for what is right and good in the sight of God.  Just one person able to sense the divine tug on her heart in the face of challenge.  Just one person hearing himself ask – someone should DO something – and sensing the answer …. “YOU are someone. Your are My beloved child called for a purpose – and this particular challenge is yours! I have stirred your heart!”

+++

No one of us can tackle all the challenges that face us. It is impossible to be equally passionate about everything. No one could bear the weight of such passion.

However, there is a challenge that has each of our names on it.  A challenge that passionately breaks our hearts because it is so very unjust, unfair, cruel, or just plain wrong!  And we are the WHO that God is calling to step into the midst of the challenge and lead!

“Ah, but I’m not a leader,” we might scoff.  That’s true, God is the lead. We are to follow the Lord; but we in turn will lead others. Why?  Because of our passion to meet the challenge!

“Yes, but, If you only knew me…..I can’t possibly do this!……” God knows us – and God equips us for whatever the Lord has planned.  (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)

None of us was created by God just to take up space on an already crowded planet.  We were each created for a purpose: to love and be loved by God and to be instruments of God’s love in the world.  A love manifest in how we are used by God to face the challenges that are all around us – WE are intended to become the solution in the hands of the Almighty God at particular times – not because of how great we are, but because of how great God is!

And perhaps, as we become part of the solution, God will give us an Aaron to strengthen us in our leadership, just as the Lord provided Moses.  Perhaps, at first, we will be given eyes to see other passionate people working to resolve challenges and come alongside them as we develop our own abilities to lead. Other times we will be called to take the lead right from the start.

+++

So many challenges are crying out for passionate leaders. God is stirring the hearts of each of us in one way or another to rise up as passionate people and do something about it.

+++

So what challenge is consuming your thoughts these days?  Something on the list at the beginning of the blog?  Or something else?  What gets you fired up and makes you cry out – “someone ought to do something!”  But Who? 

The WHO is YOU!  The WHO is me! The WHO is all of us together as God leads. Challenges are waiting to be solved – don’t you think it’s time to get solving them?

And to God be the glory!  AMEN.

Published by Pastor Catharine

Retired ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. I have a Master's of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry (with an emphasis on Spiritual Transformation of Community) from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

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