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Just before Jesus started his ministry, he thought he wasn’t ready to start. He’d been preparing for years, and had made one aborted attempt when he was 12, but he didn’t know he was ready when he actually was. His mother had to get his motor running, so to speak, by asking him to lend a hand at the wedding at Cana. God asked her to do that, and she did. Mary Mary was quite uncontrary when it came to doing God’s will.
Jesus didn’t know his time had come, and yet in God’s eyes Jesus was ready. God does that; it’s a little trick of his, like a test. The work we need to do in his name has to be done by him. Scripture says that. God works through people. All good things come from God. But in order for God to work through you, you can’t be relying on your own strength or your own understanding. What comes through you needs to come from God.
People who proudly assert that they’re ready are, in fact, not. Jesus thought he was ready to start working for God when he was 12 years old. Certainly, he already was spiritual light-years ahead of the Jewish elders in understanding of scripture, but he wasn’t ready to preach and teach. He had some living to do, some maturing that can only come with time. So his mother and father hauled him back to Nazareth.
But a few decades later, at Cana, when he thought he wasn’t ready, he actually was. He was as ready as he would ever be. He had prepared; he had learned; he had matured. And (and this is the kicker) he wasn’t confident in himself anymore. He hung back. He thought he needed to learn and mature more.
This hesitation and humility is precisely what God is looking for. Jesus not only needed to learn and mature, he needed to lose his confidence in his own abilities and rely solely on God.
It is, after all, God’s work that needs to be done, not ours.
This form of humility is not self-denigration but places all trust and confidence in God rather than in oneself. This has to be learned and then tested over time.
Jesus passed his final test at Cana, and off he went.
He was ready because he didn’t think he was ready.
And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
Then saith he unto his disciples, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”