All My Nothing

When it comes to surrendering self to God’s masterful use, many believers become anxious. The stubborn believer is another topic for another time. I’m writing about the believer who wants to be used for the glory of God but can’t seem to break through to the next phase of ministry. Perhaps the greatest fear, the biggest hindrance to being used by God, is this nagging idea: I’m not fit for God’s use.

It is that negative thought which causes the aforementioned anxiety.

When I was eleven years old, I used to read of how God used people like Kathryn Kuhlman, Oral Roberts, and Smith Wigglesworth. You don’t need to know who they are. I can tell you that they were people who were used mightily of God. Millions of people have been impacted by their lives in either a direct or indirect way.

Specifically, I used to watch Miss Kuhlman. She had such a divine energy about her demeanor, such a profound and genuine spirituality. I wanted that for my life and ministry. But, deep within, there was this thought: I’m not fit for God’s use.

I would read of Bible characters – Moses, King David, John the Baptist, Paul the Apostle. Everything within me would cry out for God to do in our modern day what He did in the Old and New testaments. I would think, “Why can’t God move now as He did in the book of Acts?” I would become stirred at that radical notion. My passion would become stirred, but then it would be immediately stifled into despair the very moment that I recalled the intrusive and discouraging thought, “I’m not fit for God’s use.”

I would check off a list of things I lacked: no notoriety, no charisma, no strong gift, no powerful sermons, and no idea how to start in the ministry.

But, dear reader, I would soon learn the source of these things I lacked. Everything – from the charisma about your person to the power that backs your preaching – is not given in a single moment. Sure, all of it is deposited at salvation. But a great anointing is like a seed. When it is planted in you, it lacks nothing, but you must tend to it in order for it to take on a useful form.

And nothing can tend the anointing like this one key – this one key that is found in the following portion of scripture:

Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough moneya to feed them!” Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.  – John 6:5-13

In the natural, what was offered by the young boy wasn’t enough to finish the job. It was, by all natural accounts, lacking, unfit, and useless. As an eleven year old boy, I used to look at that young boy in the scripture and think, “If Jesus can take his nothing and use it, then Jesus can take my nothing and use it too!”

I use the word “nothing”, because, compared to what the world needs, we have nothing to offer. It isn’t enough – it’s relatively nothing. But that’s what Jesus does: He uses nothing. God spoke to nothingness and caused all of time, matter, and space to come forth into existence. It’s in the nothing that God moves. The “not” in “I’m not fit for God’s use” is where the “I AM” finds a place. Thus, you can say, “I AM fit for God’s use.”

God uses broken vessels. When it comes being used by God, it’s not about how gifted you are, it’s only about how surrendered you are. The key to the anointing is surrender. Put your nothing in the hands of Jesus, and it will soon become all that you need.