We live in a world where you are limited by your qualifications. That’s one of the reasons why your parents probably told you to finish school.
If you don’t finish school, then your opportunities in life are certainly extremely limited. If you don’t go to university then most of the higher paid jobs are closed to you. The higher up you go, the more specific are the qualification requirements. You can only work in many areas, with the freedom and satisfaction that may bring, if you are qualified.
Of all the people in the Bible, the apostle Paul was surely the most qualified in human terms.
Paul was likely a member of the Sanhedrin, the ruling council of the Jews (Acts 26:10). He said that he had studied under Gamaliel, the foremost theologian and teacher of his time, and he points out the excellency of his training (Acts 22:3). Paul’s qualifications were unchallengeable in his society. He was able to write of himself,
You know my pedigree: a legitimate birth, circumcised on the eighth day; an Israelite from the elite tribe of Benjamin; a strict and devout adherent to God’s law [a Pharisee]; a fiery defender of the purity of my religion, even to the point of persecuting the church; a meticulous observer of everything set down in God’s law Book (Phil 3:4–6, Message paraphrase].
You can see that Paul had all the qualifications to be highly successful. But look at what he says next!
7-9 The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him (vv.7–9. Message paraphrase).
If the apostle Paul says that he has dumped all his credential in the trash, how is he qualified to do the work he does? This is how:
We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. 5 It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God (2 Cor 3:4-5, NLT).
God has qualified you by his grace.
Like the apostle Paul, I too have many academic credentials. I’m even entitled to call myself “doctor” according to the norms of this world. They’re not bad things to have in themselves. I pray and hope that the Lord uses the knowledge and understanding that I’ve picked up along the way so that I am able to bless others by bringing them Word of salvation with in a simple yet powerful way.
Yet I would be deluded if I thought that my qualifications and achievements represent my true worth. I acknowledge that without Jesus, I am nothing. Yet, I am as valuable to God as the poorest villager in the remotest community of untouchables in India; not a speck more, and not a grain of dust less.
Like the apostle Paul, my qualification comes from God. I am not qualified by my human performance, positions, titles or achievements. God didn’t call me because I was qualified according to the world. He called me simply because he measured by worth in the light of the Cross. And then, having called me, when I responded, my God has qualified me through his grace.
It’s the same for you, and every other child of God. It’s about him, not you.
Article supplied with thanks to Dr Eliezer Gonzalez.
About the Author: Dr Eli Gonzalez is the Senior Pastor of Good News Unlimited and the presenter of the Unlimited radio spots, and The Big Question.