So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12 He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.” Exodus 3:10-12
I love me some Bobby Dylan. I do. Times they are a Changin’, Blowin in the Wind, All Along the Watchtower…FORMATIVE stuff for me as a song writer. I love the honesty, chord changes, and punch they had both as a political and life commentary. He’s right up there for me with Cash, Willie, Waylon, Michael Jackson, Vedder, Ben Gibbard and The National. Yeah, I realize I skipped a lot in there, but I’m writing a blog and not a dissertation. But one of my favorite lines he sang was nah nah nah, it ain’t me babe.
Go ‘way from my window
Leave at your own chosen speed
I’m not the one you want, babe
I’m not the one you need
You say you’re lookin’ for someone
Who’s never weak but always strong
To protect you an’ defend you
Whether you are right or wrong
Someone to open each and every door
But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe
It’s so easy to say, right? A neighbor had a tree fall down and sent a group text this week asking for some help to cut it up, and it would have been so easy to say, nah, it ain’t me babe. It’s raining, I’m tired and I just smoked some chicken wings on the grill. It ain’t me babe. Or when that friend asks you to help them move, you know? When are you moving? Yeah, I am out of town then. It ain’t me babe. Or maybe when God calls you into service, to help with the proclamation of the gospel – in whatever level of commitment or context that is…. nah nah nah, it ain’t me babe… Who’s with me on this? It’s so much easier to just sing along with good ole Bobby Dylan.
Sometimes it’s laziness, I get that, but sometimes God calls us and we think, how could I possibly serve in that way? The tugging, the burning in our spirit, the call from the pastor or staff, or whatever it is for us yields that same old response because WE DON’T THINK WE’VE GOT IT IN US to do that thing we’ve been called to do. Who’s with me now? (Maybe God’s got you reading this on purpose?)
I am not qualified, I am not stable enough, or maybe even I am not good enough to serve. Who would ever want to listen to me preach, serve alongside me, or let me walk with them through their addiction, pain or sadness knowing what they know about me? Nah, it ain’t me babe.
But here’s the thing. Not one person in all of Scripture was perfectly and immediately equipped for ministry – most of whom changed the world for the sake of the Gospel. (One could make the case for Jesus, you know, being God and all… but even Jesus spent time in the temple studying the scriptures. Moving on…) So, then, given that, who are we to say it ain’t me babe when God is is the one calling? What if God is calling you to do ministry BECAUSE of who you are and who you’ve been? Perhaps God already knows your gifts and challenges and lead you up out of that place so that you could speak directly those IN THE PIT STILL?
Serving in ministry – in ALL contexts and commitment levels – is a LIFE BLESSING. It’s something we GET to do rather then something we’ve GOT to do. As soon as we let go of that unqualified part of who we are, and let God take over, we GET to see great blessing through service.
And perhaps the best part of it all is that God NEVER abandons us. Jesus said, I will be with you always, to the end of the age. (Matt 28:20)!! That’s power right there! That’s where our confidence comes from! That’s where the words will flow from! That’s the strength on which we can rely and the rock on which we can stand. Jesus is with YOU. So serve! Find a place where your gifts match the church’s needs, and quit saying it ain’t me babe, because it is precisely YOU that God is looking for! And when we fail in our work and we look to God for help, God’s response is YES, I WILL be with you, carry you, and uphold you through it!
This church and this congregation need great leaders and volunteers in order to work, sure, but even more, it’s a blessing to GET to see what God is constantly doing through people who for a very long time said, nah nah nah, it ain’t me babe. It ain’t me your looking for babe. Moses said it too, so you’ll be in pretty good company. Just sayin…
(email me if you’re up for a servant blessing)
Lord, make me a disciple. One who is crazy enough to be redefined in you. Call us Lord, and equip us for the journey and blessing of ministry in your church! Amen.