God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called

Words for Today by Pastor Shannon Bauer

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:9-13)

I enjoy running. It has been a blessing living in the Wildflower development and being so close to the Luce Line Trail. Running the Luce Line is a treat and a challenge. The treat is the beautiful tree canopy and the scenery. The challenge is running fast enough to avoid mosquitos and deerflies.

This joy in running has offered me the opportunity to run in some local 5K fun runs. On July 14, I was in the New Germany 5K and on July 21, I ran the Rails to Trails 5K. At the Rails to Trails fun run the registration and finish line were near the trail bridge while the start was up on Angel Avenue. That morning I biked down to the bridge, got my registration, took out my race number and walked up the hill to await the start to the race. I was enjoying a conversation with Pastor Greg from Watertown Evangelical Free when the race leader shared a few instructions before the start. Half listening I heard something about an electronic tag. I looked at Pastor Greg’s shoes and noticed his tag. I found out this tag was in our registration packets. As the race was beginning I was running the opposite way. By the time I located my registration packet with my tag and returned to the top of the hill, over 40 seconds of the race had past. I ran hard, by the time I crossed the finish line, I had run over a minute faster than my New Germany time.

Do you ever feel unequipped or inadequate for the challenges and responsibilities before you? Often in my roles as pastor, father, husband, son and friend, I have felt inadequate to fulfill the task before me. I get caught up thinking of failure and how failure will let those I care about down. Sometimes I would cry out to God, "God there are others who are more equipped than I, call on them, I do not think I can do it." Then I am reminded of how God called the people of the Bible, unequipped and inadequate by worldly standards, to do His Will. Moses complained about his inadequacy, yet he led the Israelite people out of slavery to the Promised Land. David, the last born son of Jesse, became the greatest leader Israel had ever known. One only needs to read the Psalms to hear of David’s struggle with inadequacy. Apostle Paul, who as a Pharisee was running the wrong way persecuting the followers of Jesus Christ, was called by God to preach the Good News to the Gentiles. The Gentiles were ignored by the Pharisees; yet, it was one trained to be a Pharisee called to equip the Gentile church.

So how are we to become equipped? In the Luke 11:9-13 passage Jesus talks about asking, seeking, knocking and getting. The 13th verse ends with this statement, "how much more will your Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask." The Holy Spirit is your equipper. Each day I ask my Heavenly Father to grant me the Holy Spirit. It is through the Holy Spirit that I am able to be a husband, father, son, friend and pastor. I ask you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, to call upon our Heavenly Father to grant you the Holy Spirit each day to equip you for your challenges, opportunities and responsibilities. It is never too late to be equipped. Once I was equipped for the Rails to Trails 5k, I ran that race with more passion and determination than I would have if I had started equipped. Yes, I was probably a little more exhausted at the finish, yet I learned more about myself and my abilities.

Shannon Bauer is the Pastor at Peace Lutheran Church in Watertown.