Let me just start by saying, that is not the intention of these words, and I pray that no one will view it that light. If I could, allow me to tell the story surrounding “Not Qualified” so that we might discover the heart behind the words.
After releasing the two part “Who You Are” series, I received some negative resistance from many different sources. Some from people who didn’t know me at all, some from people who knew me only in a very dark time of my life, and some even from my closest of friends. Through all the resistance though, one statement stuck out in my heart the most. This is the statement the video opens with, “Not Qualified”.
Upon receiving that specific Facebook message, my heart dropped into the pit of my stomach. I couldn’t stop shaking. I felt as if I might be sick or fall over. And it’s because they were right. To tell you the honest truth, I am probably the last person who should be telling young women how worthy of love they are, not to mention telling young men how they should be living a purposeful, driven life. Because several seasons in my life have been spent living in the exact opposite worldview, causing many people around me to be left broken and hurting. How could I be surprised when people from my past thought I looked like an absolute hypocrite?
So at first, I admit, I was crushed. I thought, “well, it’s true, I should probably take them down.” But then I realized something…
What if “not qualified” is the perfect place from which to begin working for God?
I could either let the words of this message burst my precious “Christian ego”, or I could hear the sobering yet inspiring and hopeful news God was trying to tell me through the message. As I prayed, I did some backtracking and realized that God had been preparing me to hear this news all week long.
I received the message on a Friday. Earlier that week I was on a long drive in my car listening to a sermon by a woman named Christine Cain. Christine’s story is out of this world. I’ll explain a lot about the sermon here, but it is still worth listening to. (the link is posted here)
Christine is part of the leadership team for the A21 campaign against human trafficking. As a victim of sexual abuse when she was a child, Christine is wildly passionate about bringing traffickers to justice and setting girls free. As if this wasn’t amazing enough, throughout the sermon Christine details several other defining moments in her life. Like her struggles as a Greek woman in Australia to receive quality education and career opportunities, or when she was thirty-three years old and discovered that she was adopted. I told you her story was out of this world.
Christine goes on to show the congregation three documents that she received along her life’s journey. One from the hospital, telling her she was “unnamed”, another from the government that tells her she was “not wanted” by her birth parents, and a final one from a university social worker telling her she was, you guessed it, “not qualified” for the type of work she’d been training for.
I probably wouldn’t have made this connection later on in the week when I received the Facebook message, except for the fact that for some reason, Christine’s sermon spoke to me in such a profound way, more than any sermon had in years. Why did it speak to my spirit so powerfully, because I believe God was preparing me. He was preparing me to hear the words, “Jon, you are not qualified.” He was giving me the wisdom and encouragement I needed to hear what HE was telling me through the words in that message, and that’s not only that I’m not qualified, but that’s exactly why God chose me to make these videos in the first place.
In the Bible when God calls, the one who is called is hardly ever qualified for the mission. But we rarely think about the heroes of the Bible being unqualified, because we don’t think much about who Moses the murderer was before he became Moses the leader, or who David the shepherd boy was before he became David the King. But if we dive into these character’s pasts we begin to see they are just as broken as we are, and yet God used them in unimaginable ways. There are missions that certain people have no business being a part of because of past mistakes, or limitations. And more often than not, those are exactly the people God chooses, and for two reasons. One, because when the unqualified person completes the mission they cannot take any of the glory for themselves, but they are forced to point straight to God. And two, because it reveals something powerful about the love of God, that it is utterly and completely redemptive.
My absolute favorite line that Christine has is when she talks about how what Satan intended for evil in her life, with her being abused, God intended for good, cause now she leads the largest campaign against sexual abuse and trafficking in the world. She looks Satan right in the face and says, “Devil, I bet you wish you’d left me alone!”
“Not Qualified” is not a prideful, combative slap to the face, it is a call to each and every person with a broken past. It is a call to remember that the love of God is beautifully redemptive. And that what Satan intended for evil in your life, God has intended it for the good, and for it to bring about a more hopeful future. When we begin to live in that redemptive love, we too can stare Satan right in the eye and say, “I bet you wish you’d left me alone. Punk.”