In July of 2004, I heard a sermon about taking steps forward in our faith journey. As I listened to the different steps one could take, I felt like God was calling me to go on a mission trip. At first, I thought, “Who, me? I’m not cut out for that!”
That feeling quickly gave way to excitement when I went online and found a popular ministry that travels around performing concerts. It sounded perfect for me, so I sent off an audition tape and waited. When the call came that I was in, I was surprised and delighted. My excitement lasted exactly 5 minutes until I heard that I had to put down a sizable deposit to reserve my spot. *Gulp* “Who, me? I don’t have money for that!”
See, I’d been working hard to pay off my foolishly-incurred credit card debt at the time. I knew I would raise support to go on the trip, but I hadn’t even raised a single dollar yet. After all, I didn’t even know for sure that I was going until that day! Even though I knew God was calling me to go on this trip, it’s a different matter altogether to put your money where your mouth is. This was the moment when a challenging move truly became a step of faith because I didn’t know if it would work out. And that’s what faith is, walking without knowing all the steps, believing when our eyes don’t see. A step of faith, by its very nature, requires faith.
I told them that I needed time to think and would call them back.
As I read Jeremiah today, I was moved by his calling.
The Lord gave me this message:
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
Before you were born I set you apart
and appointed you as my prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:4, 5
And his response was “Who, me? I’m too young!” (Jeremiah 1:6, my paraphrase).
Jeremiah is hardly alone in his hesitation. The Bible is full of people asking the same kinds of “Who, me?” questions. Sarah said, “Who, me? I’m too worn out!” Moses wondered, “Who, me? I can’t speak!” Isaiah & Peter each exclaimed “Who, me? I’m a sinful man!” When faced with a challenging step of faith, it’s natural to wonder whether the message came to the wrong person.
This is God’s response to Jeremiah’s dilemma:
The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Jeremiah 1:7-8
“Who, me?” is the natural, but wrong question. It focuses on me and my abilities. The Lord pointed out the right question to ask in his response to Jeremiah, when he pointed out that he would be with and protect Jeremiah. The correct question is: “Who’s asking me?” That question neither focuses on the enormity of the request, nor the recipient’s skills, but instead on our infinite God. Our confidence to step out in faith can’t be based on who we are and what we can do or it will fail. When it’s based on who God is, and what he wants to do through us, we can do what we never thought possible. Even if people don’t respond (as they didn’t with Jeremiah) or actively fight against you (as they did with Jeremiah) or even throw you in a cistern (as they did with Jeremiah), we can continue confidently in faith when it’s based on his calling and power.
Back to my deposit dilemma. After I got off the phone, I prayed and felt a deep conviction that I needed to put down the deposit. When I asked, “Who’s asking me?” I realized that the same Jesus who called me to go and who opened the doors in the audition, has the power to provide. He’s not intimidated by the numbers, so neither should I be anxious. I fiddled with my credit card as I read off the numbers and it was done. Then God showed up as I raised support—almost twice what I thought I needed originally [but exactly what I ended up needing]. It was never about what I could do; it was about what the Lord could do.
One of my favorite quotes that I’ve read recently comes from Amy Poehler, “So here we go, you and me. Because what else are we going to do? Say no? Say no to an opportunity that may be slightly out of our comfort zone? Quiet our voice because we are worried it is not perfect? I believe great people do things before they are ready.”
I believe people do great things when they stop asking, “Who, me?” and start asking, “Who’s asking me?”
May you be emboldened by the enormity of God’s power as you focus on who he is so that you might do great things before you’re ready.