"God tested us thoroughly to make sure we were qualified to be trusted with this Message." (1Thessalonians 2:3, The Message).
Someone once said, "God doesn't call the qualified; He qualifies the called." And the process of qualification can be quite exasperating, for it essentially involves the full execution of selfish desires, impure motives, hidden agendas, deceitful practices, vain ambitions, and, uh -- let's see -- oh yeah, greed, lust, and anger. And a whole bunch of other things, too. Did I mention whining?
Most people want God to use them in some way or another, but not many appreciate that His motto for every minister is, "shake well before using."
Now you may be thinking, "Thank God I'm not a minister!" But hold on there, junior. The fact of the matter is undeniably certain -- every man is a minister. Indeed, each and every member of the mysterious "Body of Christ" is called into ministry one way, or the other.
Paul spells it out in his Ephesian epistle: "for the equipping of the saints," he says, "for works of ministry"(ch.4:12). This means you. So while you may not be a preacher or a priest, you nevertheless are a minister; a life-agent in a dying world; a royal ambassador for Christ.
Think of it this way. Every member is a minister; every minister has a ministry; every ministry has a mission; and every mission matters! In other words, God has a specific purpose for you, and it makes a difference whether or not you respond. It not only matters to you; but it matters to all the rest of us as well.
This is why the Lord spares no expense in working us over, and wearing us out with a shake-shake here, and a shake-shake there. He wants each one of us to be thoroughly qualified, so that every one of us can be fully trusted with the Message -- everywhere we go, each and everyday.
Then it will be said of us, even as it was said of those first believers -- "And the disciples went everywhere preaching, the Master working right with them, validating the Message with indisputable evidence." (Mark 16:20, The Message)