Willingness Outweighs Worthiness

The Good Word Project is off and running with our word for January: WORTHY, and it’s my turn at bat. At first blush I wanted to write a persuasive essay about why you should feel worthy for all of life’s endeavors. A real “you got this” post. A great little encouraging piece it was going to be. You were going to love it.

However, as I thought through Bible references and examples to support all of us feeling worthy for whatever the task is at hand, I came up short. With just a casual review of Who’s Who in the Bible, it’s clear that God does not call the usual suspects (the strongest, smartest, most beautiful, most learned or any other superlative you can think of) to do His work. Those He calls are often not the most “worthy” by human standards, but they are worthy by the only standard that matters – His. He often calls those who have glaring disqualifications to do his glorious work.

Yet, there is one trait among those who do His work (as vastly different as they/we all are). That trait is willingness. A willingness to step forward and yield to His plans and His Word despite obvious shortcomings.

That’s the story of David and Goliath. David was not a worthy opponent for Goliath. Yet because God called David and gave him all he needed – merely a sling and a stone – David was able to kill a giant he would have otherwise had no business messing with. God called and David was willing to step forward (1 Samuel 17).

Later, King David was told that the Savior of the world would come to Earth through his family line. When David received this news he did not say, “Why yes, I’m worthy of this ultimate honor!” No. Not at all. The Bible says David responded to the Lord, “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family that you have brought me this far?” Then he added, underscoring God’s supreme generosity, “Is this your usual way of dealing with man, O Sovereign Lord (2 Samuel 7:18-19)?”

David did not debate whether he deserved this ultimate honor. He rejoiced for the next eight verses at the promise of God’s future blessing to usher in the King of Kings through his family line. He received it willingly because God is sovereign (vs18, 19, 22, 28), not because he was worthy of such glory.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is another heavy-hitter in the Bible who tabled her worthiness at the revelation of God’s plan for her life. She was a girl of only 13-or-14-years-old when she was visited by an angel and told she would become pregnant with the long-awaited, perfect Messiah. Talk about a daunting task: Give birth to and raise Jesus. But her response was nothing like we would expect. We would anticipate her saying, “You must be kidding right? God is pinning His plan for all the world’s salvation on this teenage girl? Surely I am unworthy.”

Instead, Mary replied, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said (Luke 1:38).” She did not debate her worthiness for her mission, but offered her willingness to participate in it.

Moses pleaded with God to choose someone else to lead His people out of slavery (Exodus 4:13). Instead, God equipped the 80-year-old stuttering shepherd for the enormous task. Paul killed Christians before he became one. Even after his conversion, Paul referred to himself as “chief among sinners,” but he continued in his calling, not because he was worthy or perfect, but because Jesus is both (1 Tim 1:15).

The Bible is full of people who did amazing things for the Lord while towing pretty hefty flaws, failures and shortcomings. You and I aren’t the only ones.

I often feel unworthy for the callings on my life – being my husband’s wife, mothering my children, writing and speaking the Word of Christ. But I’ve learned a lesson along the way: If I stay in my space of unworthiness, I will do nothing more than escort in a self-fulfilling prophesy. I can’t wallow in unworthiness, there is too much at stake, too much to do. If He’s with me, my worth is not up for debate – He decided what I was worth on the cross.

And when I forget who I am and bring my worthiness back up for grabs, I have a few trusted friends who remind me of truth. They remind me of who God is and what He has called me to do (and I love them for it).

Even though we may be unqualified or deficient, God’s plans will not be thwarted. He chooses imperfect people (the only kind available) to execute His perfect plans. Instead of a self-promoting pep-talk, we can alternatively resolve, “I have no idea how I’m ready/equipped/enough for the task You have for me, Lord, but let it be as you say.”

No more questioning our worth. No more measuring up. No more jockeying, resume building and marketing ourselves as if we’ve got the whole world in our hands. We were made for more than a lifetime of wondering if we’re worthy or trying to prove that we are.

He alone is worthy. We need only be willing.

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One thought on “Willingness Outweighs Worthiness

  1. Luke 1:38 sets the tone for the kind of women, the Lord is looking for to do His Work; to be of service to Him. I remember reading this verse during the Christmas season and thinking, “Lord, this is the person I wan to be; the one who responds immediately and graciously.” He is still working on me, because sometimes I don’t want to go, where He leads


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