WHEN MY SONS WERE LITTLE BOYS, still learning to walk independently, they loved to slip into their dad’s shoes, clasp their hands in mine or those of any adult around, and begin to walk. With their tiny feet in oversized shoes, they knew it was not safe to walk alone. To avoid falling down and hurting themselves, they totally depended on an adult’s leadership and support.
When I reflect on this illustration, I realize what it means to be in a personal relationship with God. It is from this relationship that we develop trust in His leadership and support because, in our spiritual journey, walking alone is never safe.
For all of us who have been called to serve in His vineyard in partnership with our spouses, this fact should be clear: we are wearing oversized shoes! Our spiritual and physical strength to carry
this work independently is inadequate. The mission and vision belong to Him (Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 13:47; 1:8). He is the facilitator of strength, means, wisdom, talents, gifts, protection, and
health. The people we minister to are His, and even the message we proclaim belongs to Him. Ellen White affirms this: “All heaven is interested in this work that God’s messengers are carrying
forward in the world, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. This is a great work, brethren and sisters, and we should humble ourselves daily before God, and not feel that our wisdom is
Serving Him is not about where we come from or our giftedness, education, eloquence, knowledge, leadership skills, economic status, or even dedication to service. It is about who He is in our lives and His mission to the world He loves so much. Ellen White says: “In choosing men and women for His service, God does not ask whether they possess learning or eloquence or worldly wealth. He asks: ‘Do they walk in such humility that I can teach them My way? Can I put My words into their lips? Will they represent Me?’”2
When God’s servants take pride and glory in whatever achievement they get in ministry, they demonstrate that they have forgotten whose shoes they are wearing. They do not give credit to the invisible hand that led them to victories and the Spirit of God that has been always available to convict sinners. The Spirit of Prophecy admonishes God’s servants “to ascribe glory, honor, and praise to Him who is above all and over all.”3
At times some may feel unprepared to heed the call because they feel a sense of inadequacy and fear about the responsibilities assigned to them. Here we have good news! In the life of ministry, as soon as you experience a sense of inadequacy and feel that you do not possess enough skills to perform the work assigned to you, what you need to do is not reject the assignment but surrender to the owner of the mission!
WALKING WITH JESUS
I still remember vividly when I was asked to serve at the union office as director of Sabbath School, women’s, and children’s ministries. Deep down in my heart I did not feel like it was God calling me because I was convinced He knew that I was used to the university setting and was not courageous enough for this. I feared church members and other church leaders, and I felt completely incompetent and unprepared to take the task.
While I was in this state, I felt so blank in my brain—even the little things I knew about the three ministries disappeared from my memory. I had two months before I needed to report to my new office,
and for the first month I could not find any idea of how I would run the three departments. Soon I was left with only one month before beginning my responsibilities.
One day early in the morning, I was ready to do my devotions. At the same time I was still wondering what I should do regarding my new assignment. A soft voice whispered in my heart, saying, “I
understand you are not able, but why don’t you try to pray about it? Ask, and it shall be given unto you (Matthew 7:7), for things which are impossible with humans are possible with God (Luke 18:27).”
The voice was so vivid that I could not resist it. In my state of helplessness, I cried to God, “Lord, You know I never wrote an application letter for this assignment. It has come by surprise. You must have something to do with this! Therefore, if You do not help me, I have nothing to offer to Your people. Please give me ideas, fill me with Your Holy Spirit, and give me the courage, confidence, and assurance that You are with me.”
I repeated the same prayer for the whole week. Then I started hearing the words of Isaiah 41:10 ringing in my mind: “Fear not, for I am with you . . . I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Yes, I was wearing oversized shoes, but He was going to uphold me with His righteous right hand and strengthen me; what a promise! My husband became another tool in God’s hand for me. He kept on encouraging me. Based on his experience, he told me, “You have nothing to fear because that is not your business—it is God’s business. What you need is just to surrender to His will, and He will do the rest.”
When the week was over, I took my computer and started drafting a five-year plan. To my amazement, ideas started flooding my mind, and this gave me assurance that God was truly with me. He just needed my willingness to serve, and He would fix all the rest. Indeed, God was faithful. I never ran short of new ideas for ministry for the entire five years—my only limits were time and funds.
After this experience, I promised God that wherever He sends us (my husband and me), I will never murmur because He has proved His faithfulness to me.
Maybe you are going through tough times. You might feel overwhelmed with the responsibilities assigned to you and may be playing with the idea of quitting those tasks. I don’t intend to tell you that this work is easy. But I know victory is assured. Please be encouraged by these words of Ellen White: “He who called the fishermen of Galilee is still calling men [and women] to His service. And He is
just as willing to manifest His power through us as through the first disciples. However imperfect and sinful we may be, the Lord holds out to us the offer of partnership with Himself, of apprenticeship to Christ. He invites us to come under the divine instruction, that, uniting with Christ, we may work the works of God.”4
Personally, I would not trade partnership with Christ for anything, because I have the assurance that He will never let His work (and workers) down. As long as I am walking in His shoes, I am always assured of His guidance and leadership.
1 The Review and Herald, July 12, 1887.
2 Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, p. 144.
3 The Acts of the Apostles, p. 330.
4 The Desire of Ages, p. 297.