“God doesn’t call the equipped, God equips the called.”
I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me….
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “God doesn’t call the equipped, God equips the called.”
I don’t know who said it first. A brief internet search reveals two sources – “unknown” and author Rick Yancey (but since Yancey has only been writing professionally since 2004, I suspect he was quoting “unknown.”
Many, many people have used the quote in books, blogs, and podcasts/radio shows.
And even though it is nigh impossible to determine who said it first, it does seem to make enough sense to be true.
It is obvious from the Isaiah passage that God does equip people to carry out his tasks.
In Isaiah 45, for example, it is the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great who is called by God to carry out a specific task – freeing the exiled nation of Israel (Judah, in this case) from Babylon and returning them to Jerusalem and the surrounding countryside.
God raises up Cyrus and then equips him for this task – even though Cyrus isn’t a believer in God. But more on that in a moment.
While a student at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, I remember a discussion I was a part of about the concept of “the Call.” We felt that there were actually two “calls” a pastor receives.
There is the external Call when a congregation extends a Call to a candidate or pastor to be their pastor. We understand that it is actually the Holy Spirit extending the Call, but he is doing it through the congregation.
Then there is the internal Call. Our discussion led us to consider that the internal Call again comes from the Holy Spirit, but that it happens earlier in our lives than the external Call through the congregation.
In my own case, I believe my internal Call came when I was in the sixth grade. I was a student at St. Paul Lutheran School and my teacher, Mr. Lams, told me that he thought I might make a fine pastor some day.
Throughout high school, being a pastor was just about the furthest thing from my mind. I certainly didn’t feel I had what it took to be a pastor. And that let me to decide that I didn’t want to be a pastor.
I wasn’t equipped to be a pastor – but then again, who is in grade school and high school. But that didn’t stop God from calling me.
Because, as mentioned above, God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called!
Looking back, I can see God’s calling to me in the sixth grade. And I can now see how after that calling, God equipped me throughout elementary school and high school, and finally throughout my college career.
It wasn’t until after my freshman year of college that I finally got on board with God’s plan for my life. It was then that I could see that I had a calling and that God was subsequently equipping me to carry out that calling. And I was a believer the entire time!
However, God doesn’t just call believers!
God does call non-believers to carry out his will. Romans, Greeks, Persians, Babylonians, the list goes on and on. They don’t acknowledge him to be their God, they may not even believe there is a God. But God uses them, nonetheless!
And if God can use unbelievers to carry out his will, just think what he will do with those who love him!
You, as a believer, are certainly called by God to carry out his will. You may not feel this is something you can do, that you are not equipped. But God will equip you!
Heavenly Father, thank you for calling me to do your will. Now I pray you will equip me and that you will help me realize you will equip me to carry out your call; in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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