Monday, May 27, 2013

Killing Dragons

There's an animated film called How To Train Your Dragon and the story centers around a scrawny kid named Hiccup who appears to have all bones and no muscle. He is the opposite of everything a viking should be. He finally decides to stop trying to pretend he's something he isn't and agree with his dad about his own abilities, but he finds an answer he was not expecting.
"Dad, I can't kill dragons."

"But you will kill dragons."

Interestingly enough this seems to echo my own interactions with my Father.

Timothy Moses English, that's my real name. To be perfectly honest I'm not a Paul, or even an Isaiah. I'm just a timid Timothy; a un-eloquent Moses. What does a great Apostle like Paul want with a weak, young, timid man? Is that just kindness on Paul's part towards Timothy or does he actually value and even depend on his help?
For a long time I've aspired to be a Paul—and still do—but honestly I'm really more a Timothy.
I'm not very bold about the gospel. I don't make connections quickly between the gospel and whatever conversation topic we're talking about. I'm a young, inexperienced, timid man trying to remember that we've been given the Spirit of boldness.
I'm also a Moses. I'm slow of speech. It takes me a while to think things over before answering and I'm not particularly eloquent. Moses' lack of outward gifts was obvious that he was often enviously doubted by the Israelite elders and even his own brother and sister.
I might be a little more willing to accept God's call on my life, but I have the same lack of obvious gifts.

"Dad, I can't kill dragons."
Ummm…God? I think you misfired when you sent out your ministry fire. You filled the wrong person with a desire for radical ministry. Why would you put such a desire to serve and love others when I'm clumsy, awkward, and imperceptive?

Yet, I can't help hearing his dad's reply, "But you will kill dragons."
Or, to put it the way Moses heard it, "Am I not the One who made the mouth? I will send you to Pharaoh and you will speak all the words I will put in your mouth."

We learn from Paul to boast in our weakness, but only in order to bring more honor to God. As Moses discovered, our Father is not pleased when we insist on rejecting His call because of our lack of gifts. Our weakness should never be seen as a hinderance to obeying the call, but only as a highlight of God's strength.

God is close to humble people, but far from the proud. He must be especially near those who would serve him in ministry, so He must cultivate humility within them.

He chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, the foolish of the world to shame the wise, so that in everything He might receive glory and enter into true fellowship with us.
God's constant efforts to break down our pride is not a selfish motive for Him to get the glory that is rightly His, but a loving desire to maintain fellowship with us. Pride drives us apart, but humility will draw Him in close to us.

Hiccup was despised and frustrated when he tried to fight dragons in the traditional viking way. It was only when he admitted he couldn't, that his father assured him he would.
He did fight dragons, but not in the way he originally expected. He turned viking wisdom upside down. Weak little Hiccup shamed the strong vikings who'd despised him.

"I can't kill dragons."
"But you will kill dragons."