Are You Qualified?

A year after I graduated from college I set my sights on what I thought at the time would be my dream job, being a stockbroker for a major Wall Street firm.  I’m not sure why I thought that, since I had little or no idea what a stockbroker did outside of selling stocks and bonds to people with a lot of money.  I didn’t know exactly how to go about it so I just walked into the local office of Dean Witter & Sons, and asked to see the boss.  To my surprise he agreed to see me and was very courteous but it was obvious that he had no intention of hiring me. Well, far be it from me to let the first no discourage me.  I made three more visits to the vice president’s office and each time he agreed to see me and the answer was the same, except for the last.  This time he said, “Look, I still don’t think you are old enough or qualified for the job but here’s what I’ll do, I’ll get you in to see my boss and if you can convince him, I’ll hire you.  He set up the interview for the next week and it was off to big city to see the big boss.  The interview went well but at the end he said exactly the same thing, “I don’t think you are old enough or sufficiently experienced for the job.”  I responded to him without even thinking and as I lifted up the front of my mop of hair I said, “See my forehead, do you see my age tattooed anywhere, and as for my qualifications, I got in to see you didn’t I?”  There was a moment of silence then he laughed saying, “Welcome to Dean Witter.”

That was then and this is now; in today’s marketplace, with jobs and real business growth in short supply, experience and qualifications are more important than ever. Companies want to make sure that anyone they hire will be productive almost immediately and what you have done previously is a good indicator of whether or not you will be successful for them.  When you read the narrative in Nehemiah, chapter three, one of the things you may notice is the qualifications of those who were enlisted to rebuild the gates and walls of Jerusalem.  Being in the construction business for almost ten years, I can tell you that I have never seen a construction crew like Nehemiah’s.

They were goldsmiths, perfume-makers, politicians, priests, temple servants, and merchants, but not a single mention of a mason, carpenter, metal worker or anyone else you would consider qualified to work on such a project.  As for Nehemiah’s qualifications for being the construction manager, his last job was being the cup-bearer (bartender) to the king of Persia.  Only a group of wealthy nobles refused to put their back into it, either because they weren’t able or thought they were too good for such work.  Not only were the workers expected do work they were unqualified to perform, but when they came under attack by angry and greedy neighbors, they were expected to work with one hand and wield a weapon in the other.  But what they did have made all the difference, zeal and a willingness to work hard and see the project through to completion.  And even more important, they had the Lord God Almighty on their side, and as Nehemiah told them, “The God of heaven will give us success (2:20).”

For many who are going through marital problem, the first reaction is to get professional help, but why?  More than likely because someone told them that if they did, the probability of a successful outcome would be greatly increased.  This not bad advice, in fact seeking counsel in such circumstances can be very helpful, but not as your referee, but as your construction manager who can give advice on how to proceed and ways to go about it.  What should their qualifications be?  Someone who is wise from having taken in the Word of God and carefully sought out how to apply it in prayer and humility.

But what about your experience and your qualifications, are they adequate to the task?  It was pretty easy to fall in love and then say I do.  But now that the train is off the tracks, getting it back on seems almost impossible.  It is as the angel Gabriel told Mary after she doubted the possibility of her pregnancy, because she was a virgin, “For nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).”  Notice that Gabriel doesn’t say “for God” but rather, “with God.”  The emphasis is on God coming along side as the enabler or counselor, the work is  to be  performed by us  and we are to see it through to the end out of obedience and gratitude to our Lord.  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear (Psalm 46:1-2).”

All the counselors, pastors along with concerned friends and family can never replace a lack of faith in God.  Believing that God not only can and will empower you and desires you and your spouse be reconciled, is the key to success or if you lack such faith, the impetus for failure.  So how do I secure such faith and the skills I need to rebuild?

Nehemiah was the man who the workers were looking to for leadership, strength and inspiration, especially when those around them were trying to slow their progress by intimidation and acts of terrorism.  As Nehemiah recounts, “They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, that ‘There hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed. But I prayed, ‘Now strengthen my hands (6:9).’”  He didn’t ask God to strike their enemies dead or even to remove them by divine intervention, instead Nehemiah asked God for strength so that their work might continue; the “good” work that God had been given to do. It would be accomplished “with” God and by faith in Him.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  Hebrews, chapter 11, contains everything we might ever need to know regarding faith and what it can accomplish.  It contains a list of famous people from Israel’s past and what they were able to accomplish by their faith in God.  Yet their faith was only a foreshadowing of the faith that God in Christ has made available to us, which can be employed in accomplishing what God has called us to do; and that includes rebuilding a marriage that is in need of repair and restoration.  We’ll take a closer look at this faith, as described in Hebrews, chapter 11 and how it provides everything we may need to accomplish our mission. I know this because we are told in Hebrews 11:1; faith can make all our hopes and dreams for peace in our relationship with God and those we love, sure and certain.

Tool #283  You have all you need at your disposal, all you need to do is ask and it will be given to you. You became fully equipped when you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior.

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