Seeking to disqualify, not qualify

by | Sep 12, 2023 | Vital Men Devotions

My first ministry job was as a youth pastor. When I was hired, the church emphasized the importance of reaching un-churched students from the community, a challenge I took to heart. Within months our ministry was reaching numerous un-churched kids, and the church was…well, not happy. People were unhappy that these kids had muddy shoes, came from “questionable families,” sometimes used questionable words, and whose parents were not contributing a weekly offering. In fact, for two years I heard nothing but complaints about new students, until one day two new students attended. Within hours I was receiving messages from church members congratulating me on reaching these kids. I thought I had achieved a real breakthrough…until I found out that the kids’ dad was a well established medical doctor. Apparently the kids of a wealthy doctor were qualified for youth group, but not any others! This is a frequent problem for Christians: we are seeking to disqualify, not qualify. 

And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. Acts 8:27-31, 34-38

This is one of my favorite Bible stories, because it shows us exactly what evangelism is supposed to be about. The Ethiopian was, in Jewish eyes, about as disqualified as one could be. He worked for another ruler, was a different race/ethnicity, was from another country/people, was uncircumscribed, was a eunuch, etc. Many Jews would have been seeking to disqualify, not qualify, such a man. Yet, look at what happens. THE HOLY SPIRIT calls Phillip to minister to the man. Did you get that? God Himself says that one who the world says is totally disqualified is actually completely qualified because of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. God is saying that His message, and His gift of eternal life, is for all people regardless of who they are, where they come from, or what they’ve done.

As Christ followers we need to stop seeking to disqualify, not qualify. We need to remember that God desires to qualify the disqualified. I am reminded here of the 99 and the 1: Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:7

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