According to Merriam Webster’s Online dictionary the definition of the word insufficient is the following:
not sufficient : inadequate; especially : lacking adequate power, capacity, or competence
Over the past few weeks of training we have sat through hours and hours of classes. Some have been riveting and exciting, while others have been, well… slightly tedious (in the most positive not tedious way possible, of course!). We have been learning in depth about people groups around the world lost in utter darkness, about God’s incredible salvation plan for the nations, and about being bold and courageous in sharing our faith. Our training has sparked conversation and excitement among all of us about the task that we have been called to undertake.
On the other hand, we have been sitting in the presence of many who have gone before us that have incredible legacies and deep wisdom and insight. We are daily surrounded by other new missionaries that were doctors, government officials, pastors, and other highly educated professionals. We are being told about church planting movements where hundreds of churches have sprung up, in part, due to the work of a few. We are hearing testimonies of mighty works of salvation across the world.
To be honest it’s intimidating. There, I said it. Being here in this training is VERY intimidating and overwhelming. We feel like we are not as godly, not as intelligent, not as educated, not as prepared, not as skilled as everyone else (and I’m beginning to see many others feel the same). Then we look at the task at hand, the billions that need to hear the Gospel, and we feel utterly insufficient.
But you know what, I don’t think that it’s a bad thing that we feel insufficient, because in reality…we are COMPLETELY insufficient without Christ and his Holy Spirit working in us. Our family cannot and will not save a single person over these next few years. We won’t start any churches. And really, let’s face it, we can’t even go to Mexico in our own ability. CHRIST is the one who saves. It is GOD who starts churches. It is the LORD who determines whether we receive our visas for Mexico or not. In reality all our family can do is be obedient and pray for God to use us however he sees fit. That’s actually a very liberating thought. But I think it’s not just liberating to us, it should be liberating to all believers who are giving their lives to pursue Christ. We are all completely insufficient without God’s mighty work in us. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” What a relief! God works even in our insufficiency!
So as we continue to look ahead to the people we hope to see saved, the churches we hope to see planted, and all the other ministry God will ever call us to we can genuinely embrace our utter insufficiency. We desire to people who say, “so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’.” (1 Cor. 1:31)