Luke 3:15-17 (CEV)
15 Everyone became excited and wondered, “Could John be the Messiah?”
16 John said, “I am just baptizing with water. But someone more powerful is going to come, and I am not good enough even to untie his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 His threshing fork is in his hand, and he is ready to separate the wheat from the husks. He will store the wheat in his barn and burn the husks with a fire that never goes out.”
Not Good Enough
They sat across from me in our living room and asked me to pray for them. I was happy to pray. Life was being hard. I wanted God to show up in ways that would bring healing and wholeness to the brokenness they were experiencing. But they didn’t have much experience with this idea of prayer, and when I finished praying they started to gush about how “wonderful” my prayer was. I felt weird as soon as they said it. I knew what had happened, and knew that I hadn’t done anything special, so if special had happened, it must have been God. And here was this hurting couple and they were saying that I had done something overly special in that moment, and I said, “that ‘wonderful’ that you felt? You need to know that wasn’t me. I just opened my mouth. That ‘wonderful’ was God showing up for you.”
John’s words from yesterday’s passage seem to have made an impact on people. He was surprising them, catching them off guard, and somehow filling them with hope for a better tomorrow. People start talking about how ‘wonderful’ he is, and throwing around this word ‘Messiah’ and getting all excited, because, let’s face it, if God is showing up it is exciting!
But John is quick to tell us that it isn’t him. He doesn’t seem to stop and consider whether maybe he could be, whether maybe he even should be, the Messiah. Because he seems to be really clear on who he is and who God is, he doesn’t seem to need any clarification on the subject. He’s John. He’s the one who baptizes with water. But He’s not the Messiah. He’s clear that any power he has is nothing on the power of the Messiah. He’s clear that the Messiah will do much more than he can do. And he’s clear that the Messiah will have responsibilities he doesn’t want to have.
Last week we talked about Anna, and about how, in spite of all the things that were stacked against her in life, she was still good enough for God to use her and bless her in an amazing way. But today we have to talk about the other side of this ‘good enough’ coin. These phrases remind us that while we are ‘good enough for God to use’, we’re not actually ‘good enough’ to be God.
That matters when we’re worried that we can’t do what God is calling us to do, because we need to remind ourselves that God’s going to do the God stuff, and we just need to show up and be present, or open our mouths, or start swinging a hammer, or sign some cheques, or whatever it is He’s asking us to do. When we remember that we’re not ‘good enough’ to be God, but God is, then we don’t have to be lost in worrying that we don’t have the power to get the job done, and we can just get on with being the people God made us to be.
That matters when we start to think that we can do, not only what God is calling us to do, but what God is actually doing. We need to remind ourselves that God is still the one and only one who is going to do the God stuff, or provide the God power, and we need to make sure that we don’t start assuming that just because God is doing cool and amazing stuff in us or through us that we’re the ones doing it. When we remember that we’re not ‘good enough’ to be God, but God is, it helps us to see the role God is playing in our lives, and that allows us to thank Him for what He deserves thanks for and keep our broken pride and arrogance in check.
And that matters when others, who don’t know God yet, start to assume that the God-work in you, the God-power in you, is something only ‘special’ people have access to. This following Jesus business isn’t some closed club. God wants to break in to this world through the lives of as many of us as will have him. So it’s really important that we make sure that those who are catching this ‘taste’ of God through us get pointed in the right direction. When we are clear that we’re not ‘good enough’ to be God, but God is, it allows others to come closer to meeting God, and seeing God begin to show up more and more in their own brokenness with Shalom and healing and wholeness.Journal Questions:
- Think of a situation in life that you feel you can’t be good enough for God in. What would it take, and what would it look like for you to let God be God in this?
- Think of a situation in life that you feel you can be good enough for God in. What would it take, and what would it look like for you to let God be God in this?
- Think of a situation in life that others might assume the God-work in or through you is something just for you. What would it take, and what would it look like for you to let God be God in this?