Apparently there are three types of computer users:
Novice user – this is someone who is terrified of pressing a key in case they break something.
Intermediate user – this is someone who doesn’t know how to fix the computer after they pressed a key.
Expert user – this is someone who knows how to break other people’s computers.
I reckon that this could be a parable. For computer user, insert ‘Christian’, and for ‘pressing a key’ insert ‘putting their faith into action’.
Sometimes we are novices and we are afraid to take a step of faith and do what God wants because we are worried we will do the wrong thing, we won’t be good enough, we might upset someone, we might look silly.
Sometimes we are intermediates and we worry about whether we have done the wrong thing, said the wrong thing, look silly…
Sometimes we think we are experts and tell other people what to do in order to do the wrong thing, say the wrong thing, look silly…
The issue here is not whether we are like Jonah (we don’t want to do it because it sounds too difficult), Peter (wanting to do the right thing but likely to mess it up) or even Paul (full of good advice but not concerned about ruffling a few feathers). The issue is that God invites us all to participate in him and to put our faith in him regardless of the probability that we will get it wrong at times.
When God told Jonah to go to Nineveh he knew Jonah would be scared. But maybe he knew that the people of Nineveh would be curious to listen to someone who smelt of fish vomit. When Jesus invited Peter to step out of the boat and walk on the water he knew that Peter would get distracted. But maybe he knew that this would be a (soggy) baby-step on Peter’s journey of faith. When Jesus startled Paul on the road to Damascus he knew that Paul would be regarded with suspicion and have a lot of difficult church meetings ahead of him. But maybe he knew that it would take someone who is single-minded and doesn’t care what other people think of them to establish and nurture fledgling churches.
And me? I guess knows stuff about me that he can use for his mission and ministry – whether I think I am a novice, an intermediate or even when I am presumptuous enough to consider myself an expert!