They sing a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation; you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked someone to take on some leadership or ministry, and she or he said, “I can’t do that. I’m not worthy.”
Were they indeed unworthy? The answer is complicated. They were both wrong and right. If anyone thinks they get to do ministry or take on leadership because they have earned being worthy, they’re wrong.
So, how were they right? Look again at today’s scripture. Because Jesus took the scroll, opened its seals, and revealed God’s plan, and because He gave His life to make things right between God and us, He makes us “saints” and “kings and queens” and “priests.” Our being worthy isn’t a badge we merit; it’s a gift we receive from Jesus.
Where does our instinct to say, “I’m unworthy” come from? Well, the motives are probably sound. If we walked around saying we’re worthy of changing the world, our arrogance would be driving us.
Although the instinct to get on our knees is a good one, the instinct to stay there isn’t. Jesus didn’t become one with us, didn’t give His life, wasn’t raised from the dead so that we would be perpetually “eating humble pie” and apologizing for our life. Without Him, we cannot stand; but with Him, we can stand tall.
In the future, if someone asked you to take on some ministry or leadership, what are you going to say? I encourage you to say that you gratefully accept while also thanking Jesus for making you worthy to do so.
Are we worthy? Of course not. Are we worthy? Of course. Let’s not deny the unworthiness of our humanity. And more importantly, let’s also not deny Jesus’ ability to make us worthy by His grace.
- If you have ever turned down a ministry because you felt unworthy, what are you going to say and do the next time you receive an invitation?
- If you often feel unworthy, does today’s reflection that you are both unworthy and worthy encourage you? If so, how?
- If we think we need to earn our worth, we are likely to lead lives of frantic desperation to prove ourselves. If, though, we trust that Jesus makes us worthy, we’re more likely to lead lives of gratitude and peace. What kind of life do you want to have?