Sometimes we feel unqualified to pursue the things that we enjoy or for which we have a natural ability. We can feel undeserving of the opportunities we have been given and shy away from greater challenges. We think the mistakes in our past disqualify us from significant roles in the future or we are fearful that we won’t measure up to other’s expectations. We think there are people better suited than us; that person is smarter, more experienced, better educated, more eloquent, better dressed.
I experience these same feelings but then I’m reminded of a man named Amos.
Amos was a shepherd who was tasked with conveying many messages on behalf of God. It was not an easy job; much of what he said was about death and destruction but he did as he was told. Amos warned Israel of impending fires, earthquakes and the wrath the people would incur for their rebellious ways. I don’t imagine he was very popular considering he only delivered bad news, but Amos persisted in his mission.
God chose him as a prophet and Amos chose to obey. Day after day, Amos spoke the harsh truths as they were given to him. Challenging and rebuking corrupt behaviour, warning of its consequences, challenging the complacent. Not an easy job at all.
Eventually, people tired of Amos and a priest ordered Amos to leave town. But Amos’ responded confidently: “I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’”
And prophesy he did.
“Your wife will become a prostitute in the city, and your sons and daughters will fall by the sword. Your land will be measured and divided up, and you yourself will die in a pagan country. And Israel will surely go into exile, away from their native land.”
You read that correctly: Amos told a priest that his wife would become a prostitute. Amos the lowly shepherd said that to a priest! Can you imagine the courage it takes to not only refuse a priest’s command but then in turn insult his wife? In those times, that may have been punishable by death but Amos did so anyway.
The words weren’t his but God’s; Amos was simply the messenger.
But don’t let that take away from the incredible faith he demonstrated in doing so. He was not the most qualified, the smartest, the most eloquent, nor the best dressed. He was but a shepherd with a sincere belief that God called him to do something profound. Amos was protected and given strength to endure the greatest challenges of his life. He was given all that he needed to succeed because he was willing to obey.
Easy? Not at all.
You may fear that you don’t deserve the opportunities ahead of you and you’re right, you don’t. But don’t let that stand in the way of embracing your calling. Amos didn’t ask to be a prophet but he took hold of it anyway.
We were all created for something greater than what we think we deserve.
Sadly, we ignore our respective callings because we are afraid of failure; we doubt our abilities, we feel defeated when comparing ourselves to others, we have too much pride to stray from what others expect of us, or we’re too insecure to be in a position we don’t control or pursue an outcome we can’t foresee.
Don’t let any of that stop you. If you ask God to reveal your calling, trust that He will. But once He does, will you obey? Ordinary people, just like Amos, are called to do extraordinary things. He was just a shepherd and you are just you, but that is why you are perfect for what’s next.