As I'm eating lunch at my desk, a co‐worker walks up and tells me, “I have so many problems I just don't much feel like living.” After listening to his troubles I tell him, “You need to talk to a preacher. Do you have one? If you don't, I can see if my pastor will meet with you.”
Haven't most of us had a similar experience? But when we pass off the need of another person to someone we consider more qualified than us, we are usually gumming up the works. First of all, there aren't enough of these so‐called “qualified” people to handle all the needs. And secondly, the people we pass off to “more qualified individuals” will probably never bother to connect with those individuals.
When I first met Richard, he was sleeping in his car—and he was considerably longer than his back seat. He already had back pain, and his sleeping position just aggravated it. After asking for his permission, I prayed with him and the pain left.
The next Sunday I saw him at a church service. He came up to me, sat down on a stool and said, “I want you to pray for my back.” So we got rid of the pain again. Since he had joined one of our classes, I started seeing him on a regular basis, and every few days he would ask me to pray for his back.
Imagine the look on his face when, the next time he approached me for prayer, I said, “No. I'm not going to pray for you. You know what to do. You don't need me. Pray for yourself.” He came up to me a few days later and said something like: “I did what you've been showing me and it worked.”
Because of his living conditions his pain would return periodically, but he always managed to get rid of it by himself. In fact, I remember one time asking him if he wanted me to pray for him and he said, “No. I can take care of it.” Of course, that was music to my ears. (The last thing I want any homeless man to do is assign some celebrity status to me.) Not only was Richard praying for himself, I also overheard him sharing with another person what he'd been learning.
Please note: I use this example because Richard had a need, but he had no money for professional care. This all happened early on as I was learning to pray for people with health issues. I would have jumped at the chance to pass his need off to someone more qualified, but I was the only person available.
I try to be around people who are high achievers for God, whenever possible. Sometimes I have personal contact, but mostly I have contact through a conference or some kind of electronic media like a television program. When I hear the testimonies of what God is doing around the world through these people, it's easy to become intimidated by their accomplishments and give them celebrity status. But when I am intimidated by celebrity I am useless to God.
The works of John Wesley, Martin Luther, Mother Teresa, Charles Finney, and any other celebrities of Christianity—dead or alive—were not self‐generated. They were not created within the minds of men and women. The celebrities of Christianity—past or present—did not or do not have anything that was not given to them. They just did what God asked them to do.
When Cornelius fell down at Peter's feet, Peter said, “Stand up: I myself also am a man (see Acts 10:25‐26).” By saying “also” Peter is putting Cornelius on the same level as he is. By telling Cornelius to stand up, I believe Peter is effectively telling him, “I don't have access to anything you don't have access to. So stand up and begin to operate at least at my level.”
If you will allow the Word of God to destroy the celebrity status you have placed on Christian celebrities (even if they are only famous in your local church), you will be used by God in ways you didn't think possible.
Do you believe in Jesus? Are you an “anyone”? Then consider Jesus' words:
I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. (John 14:12 NLT)
That's some amazing potential, and it's yours for the taking—or better stated, it's yours by your obedience. So what does this look like in your everyday life?
First of all, it is not necessary to go looking for ways to do the works of Jesus. If you have a listening hear, the people around you are continually telling you what they need. It may be obvious—an accident, a family tragedy, an illness, or some other trauma. Otherwise, you can see their need in their faces or in their actions. You can hear it in their words—even through their griping and complaining.
When you see the need, don't pass it off to someone more qualified. Ask the Lord what He wants you to do, and then do it. Stop looking around for someone better qualified. If a person needs something from God, you are already there—so you deliver whatever is needed. Remember, it's not about you. You can pass along something from God just the same as your pastor or anybody else.
You must stop disqualifying yourself by passing off the need to someone you think to be more qualified, or you will forever be intimidated by celebrity. So what, if someone's not healed by your shadow just yet (see Acts 5:15). Do what you can do now. Maybe it doesn't look pretty. Maybe only a trickle of God's power is getting through right now. But obedience is like Drano in a clogged pipe; it will eventually open you up so the power of God can freely flow through you.
A while back we were following a couple on a motorcycle going about 50 mph. The woman started leaning to the left and then fell off the bike, tumbling along the street. When the woman finally came to a stop, she continued flopping on the pavement like a fish out of water. Sherrel immediately jumped out of our car and ran toward the woman shouting, “In Jesus' name, you will live and not die!” She didn't touch the woman in any way but she stood over her, speaking life into her unconscious body. One of the people who had gathered around the accident scene told Sherrel to be quiet but she just kept speaking life over the woman until the ambulance arrived.
Sherrel didn't look around for someone more qualified. She wasn't thinking about her own inadequacy. She saw a need and allowed herself to be used by God to meet that need. Other people also did what they could to meet the woman's need. And we found out later the woman was released from the ER in good condition.
Can you see where I'm going? If helping God is about obedience and not performance then your ability or inability is no longer an issue. When you encounter a person in need, I want to challenge you to meet that need head‐on with whatever you have to work with.
If you don't think you have what it takes, just remember: You don't have what it takes. You'll never have what it takes. It's not about you. It's about the other person and Jesus. What other people need comes from the Christ in you—not from you.
Here are some of the things I've noticed as I wean myself from celebrity. First of all, I am not so impressed by what other people do. I am more interested in honoring them for their obedience rather than envying them for their accomplishments.
I am not so quick to pass off a need to someone more qualified because I realize there are no qualified people out there serving God. There are only available people out there serving God. We provide the availability; God provides the ability.
One of the more curious things I've noticed is that I don't have much of a desire to find fault with those being used by God in ways I would like to be used. I'm not envious, looking for a chink in their armor so I can think: “See there… you're no better than me!” I don't need to tear them down to my level because it's not about their talent; it's about their obedience.
There is real freedom when we don't live in the pecking order called celebrity. Instead of spending all our energy trying to rank ourselves with other people, we are free to hear Jesus' say, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it (Luke 11:28b).”
Have a good day,