GOD WANTS TOUGH MEN
M. J. Jacob
God is looking for tough men and women to do His job. He doesn't like the easy going, the pleasure seeking and the sluggish. In the earthly realm too, top men look for tough and intelligent ones to do the job.
The chief executive of a renowned firm wanted a manager for his company. Ten candidates appeared for the interview. To each one of them he asked the same question, "Shall I ask you one tough question or two easy questions?" Nine of them preferred two easy questions. A smart guy among the ten told him, "Sir, you can ask me a tough question." The chief executive asked him, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" The young aspirant told, "Chicken, sir." The executive asked again, "How can it be?" He was stunned by the answer given by the smart and intelligent guy, "Sir, you said you will ask me only one tough question. Now you are asking me another question." He was selected as the manager for that reputed firm.
God is looking for intelligent and hard workers for His kingdom job. It is fascinating to read the Biblical stories of how God conducted interviews for the selection of the candidates for His ministry. God takes pleasure in people whose heart is set to do seemingly impossible things. He called Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Gideon, David and scores of men and women for the kingdom job. When the Midianites attacked the Israelites, God selected Gideon, a mighty warrior. God made him the Commander-in-Chief of the army, gave him guidelines for the selection of the soldiers. God was not happy with Gideon's selection. Another selection was ordered. Read Judges 7:2,3. The Lord said to Gideon, "You have too many men. Announce now, anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead." Twenty two thousand men left. Ten thousand remained. Again, God was not satisfied with this selection. We read of another interview at the River Side. Only three hundred were found to be eligible. With these 300 men, Gideon won a victory over the Midianites.
A Unique Way
Our Lord had a unique way of selecting candidates for His ministry. First, His interview centre was Lake Side. He selected strong men, Andrew, Simon whom He called Peter the rock, and John and James, sons of thunder. Another interview took place at the Tax Booth where Matthew, the tax collector, was selected, who later became an author giving us the longest gospel.
Our Lord Himself was a warrior, a tough bold Man. He did not fall into Satan's trap to be a world leader, or a renowned miracle worker. He preferred to go through the way of the cross. His teaching centred upon self-denial and He wanted His followers to lead self-sacrificing lives. He was looking for strong men, and not easy going, earth licking and pleasure seeking ones. He wanted those who served Him to be prepared to go through the narrow gate (Matt.7:14). But the gate to life is narrow and the way that leads to it is hard, and there are few people who find it.
Our Lord is looking for tough-minded optimistic ones to serve Him. He doesn't like those who place their hand on the plough and leave when they find the going is tough. Following the Lord is hard (Lk.9:62). No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God. The Lord's words seem to be hard (Jn.12:25). The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in the world will keep it for eternal life. Surely, abundant blessings will be there for those who prefer the tough life.
Never Give Up
Clive Calver has said, "We need soldiers in the kingdom of God. If there is a forest on the way, soldiers cut the trees. If there is a river, soldiers make a bridge. If there is a mountain, they dynamite it, but they have to go on. Soldiers cannot afford the luxury of having problems." Our Lord is looking out for people who are out and out prepared to get out of their comfort zones, who are solely for Jesus and His kingdom. God picks up tough men for the tough job. Robert Weston, in his book Intimacy to Eternity has narrated an incident from the life of Winston Churchill. "Near the end of his life, Churchill returned to Harrow, his old school. To every one's amazement, his entire address lasted less than a minute, but each person who heard it will surely remember every word, "Young men, never give up, never give up, never, never, never, never give up." It is good for us to remember the American adage, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." When God is with us, we need not be timid or fearful. Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ Jesus, who strengthens me." He exhorted the Corinthians (1Cor.15:58), "Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not vain in the Lord."
Yes, God wants tough ones for His job. But we find in the Bible, God selected even soft minded ordinary people and made them extraordinary. God's ways are mysterious. At times, He chooses frail ones too. But He gives them training to be tough men to do His job. Joseph, in his early years, was very soft-natured. He was one who loved God and longed to walk in His ways. He was given training to become the Prime Minister of Egypt. See how much of hard training he had to undergo in his life. As in Joseph's life, God looks for men and women who acknowledge Him and long to know, taste and serve Him. He selects such persons also to make them eligible candidates for His ministry. The qualification is that he or she should have a longing to know Him from the heart, trust Him and grow towards spiritual maturity.
I want to conclude with my own story. I was not a tough guy, for God to use for His kingdom job. I had a childish nature for several long years-very sensitive, easily provoked, and fearful. My parents gave me the pet name, Baby. I was different in my school and at the work spots. I earned funny nicknames, both in school and in the Railways, where I worked. When the truth of Jesus as a living reality flashed into my mind, I felt a hunger and a passion for Jesus. I could experience God selecting me and putting me into a training programme. Sometimes I was in the Potter's hand getting squeezed and moulded, and at times through the refiner's fire. Still the training continues. When His work is completed in me, when I am found fully worthy for the job in the new kingdom, He will call me and grant me a responsible post. This is my hope. This is my joy. "His servants shall serve Him" (Rev.22:3). Brothers and Sisters, if God has found you as a tough man or woman for His kingdom, praise the Lord. If you are soft- natured and want to be enlisted as a candidate for His kingdom job, tell Him, you wholeheartedly love Him and that you want to know Him and the wonder of His resurrection. You will have a passion for Jesus. He will select you for His kingdom job. How privileged we are!