Have you ever read the Christmas story when it wasn't Christmas? Perhaps not, but Luke 2:4-20 gives us a great example of what qualifications (if any) are needed to proclaim Jesus to others. If you have ever felt that you needed a degree in theology before you begin a ministry God has called you to, just remember the shepherds who were out in the fields the night of Jesus' birth and what happened to them. If you need a refresher, the story can be found at Luke 2:4-20.
During biblical times, shepherds were despised among the general populace. They were thought of as untrustworthy, illiterate, uncouth, unclean misfits. The religious leaders held them in the same regard as they did prostitutes. They were quite literally the social outcasts of their day. This is what makes their story so amazing.
Angels did not appear to anyone else that night to proclaim that the Messiah had been born. Only despised shepherds. They knew their position in society and so did God, which is why their story is so unique. The first thing they did after seeing the angels was to immediately go to Bethlehem to verify if a baby had been born. The second thing they did was to tell everyone they met about the child and what had happened to them. The third thing they did was to glorify and praise God for what had happened to them. In other words they praised and thanked the Lord for the privilege of proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah.
Do you know what that makes them?
The first witnesses/preachers in all of history to proclaim that Jesus was Lord!
Now let's think about this for a moment. Jesus came in the lowliest of manners. His birth was proclaimed by men considered outcasts by society. I personally don't understand the archaic reasoning as to why shepherds were so despised at the time. But they were and God chose them to be His mouthpiece. The angels did not appear to the learned religious leaders of the day. Just like Jesus' lowly birth, those considered the least important in society were the ones elected to spread the news about his arrival. I don't know about you, but this brings me comfort to know that the great God of heaven elected to use men of little influence to announce His coming.
While God does use great men of faith like Billy Graham, and those who have attended school to get accredited as a preacher (like your Pastor), He can and does use everyone to proclaim His message - if we are willing to take that first step of obedience by declaring Him before others.
Unfortunately, it is the one thing most Christians don't act on because of fear. Fear that they will say the wrong thing. Fear that people will react in a negative way and fear that they are not qualified to teach or preach because they do not have diplomas to back up their authority. Did you know that the only disciple with a "real" education was Paul? He was taught by the great Rabbi Gamaliel. All the rest of the Apostles were (to put it bluntly) uneducated people with a message to share. So if you are not sharing your Faith Story with others because you feel you need to go to school first - think again. God revealed Himself to you in a specific way. He has called you to go and share that story.
So what four qualifications do you need to preach/share the Gospel?
Do you have a Faith Story you would like to share? Let me know and I will post it here on my blog. Can't wait to share your story? Then tell us about it in the comments below.