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Beyond Credentials

The one thing I was good at was winning scholarships and prizes, and that era was coming to an end. —Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

America has more than 2,600 accredited universities and colleges, with approximately 10 million students enrolled at any given time. Almost 2 million college grads are entering the workforce each year, but there’s one main difficulty: So many equally qualified people mean a greater amount of competition for job opportunities.

What do they do? The most ambitious people often dive back in and acquire more education and skills. This is our American culture; we value the accumulation of highly refined skills for the sake of securing employment.

The idea that God would ask someone qualified in a specific area to do something beyond that person’s skill set seems a little counter-cultural. We like to match a person to a task based on their credentials. Also, we like to feel qualified. This is why we spend so much money getting trained in our areas of interest.

So why would God put us in such an awkward position?

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus sends out His disciples with a specific purpose. He wants them to do what He does—heal the sick and cast out demons. Realizing they aren’t qualified, “he gave them power and authority” to do as instructed (Luke 9:1). No degrees required. No extra clothing, no cash, no food. Just a complete dependence upon Jesus’ power and authority.

And the disciples were wildly successful. So much so that Herod, the ruler of that area, heard all about it and said, “‘I beheaded John [the Baptist]. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?’” And he tried to see him”(Luke 9:9).

The disciples were preaching and healing, but Herod “tried to see Him,” singular. This observation points us to the why.

Jesus invites us to do things beyond our abilities because He knows we must depend upon Him to empower us. As a result of His empowerment, others will be drawn to seek Him.

Jesus, inadequacy says I’m not enough. But You say anything I offer is more than enough. May I spend every day depending upon the “more than enough” Spirit who lives in me, as we do things together that are way beyond my own abilities. Amen.

Learn more from Pete’s teaching on Luke, What Will Jesus Do?

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