I'm sitting silently, listening to the conversation around the dinner table. My friends have gathered over plates of hamburgers and corn on the cob and all the fruits that summer has to offer, leaning in to fill their bodies with the products of sunlight and warmth. They smile and take turns offering their stories and experiences, trading conversation like children do toys. These people are interesting and funny and experienced, and I love every bit of it. But I sit silently.
I'm stuck in insecurity. Bogged down by the constant voice that I have nothing to offer this conversation. I tell myself that I'm not well traveled and that my work experience is limited to stories that ended six years ago when my oldest son was born. I tell myself that I'm simply a stay at home mom at a table full of people who don't have kids. What could I possibly say to captivate their attention? What could I possibly offer to this conversation?
So, I sit silently, biting down on a juicy blackberry. It explodes in my mouth, fresh and sweet as the person sitting next to me begins to unzip herself and share her heart. She begins to tell us about her struggle with infertility and her boundless, fresh, sweet hopes over the adoption process they've begun.
I listen as she shares her journey, as her husband looks on with hope and longing and scars in his eyes. I listen as she recounts what God is doing and how they plan on walking the rocky road ahead. I've never struggled like this. I've never felt that hope deferred, but my heart cracks open at the telling. I silently pray for what to say, for what to offer, and I look to my own experience as my guide. Of course, that well is dry. I come up empty handed. "What do I have to offer, Lord? I'm inexperienced here," my mind says. "Jesus. You have Jesus to offer," He replies. The answer drops into my heart like honey, sweet and smooth and beautiful. It bursts within me like a blackberry, bright and fresh and promising, and it fills me like food. I have Jesus to offer. You have Jesus to offer.
It doesn't matter what road you've traveled, what experiences you've walked through, what knowledge you have, or what skills you possess. You have Jesus to offer. We are not disqualified from a single thing, from a single moment of influence, because we are representatives of Him.
So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, 'Come back to God!'2 Corinthians 5:20, NLT
Perhaps, like me, you've allowed insecurity to silence you. Maybe, you've doubted yourself, disqualified yourself, and have therefore limited yourself. Maybe you think you don't have anything to offer.
Let me tell you something. You do. You have everything to offer! You are the very representative of the Savior of the world! You carry His good news with you like a vile of medicine for the sick, like a gallon of water for the thirsty, like bread for the hungry.
Like Peter, who came up empty handed when faced with the pleas for money from a blind beggar, we can take our focus off of what we don't have and look with confidence at what we do have.
Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, 'Look at us!' So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Then Peter said, 'Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk'.Acts 3:2-6
Peter could have focused on the area that he lacked. He could have said, "Silver or gold I do not have–I'm sorry," and kept on walking. Instead, he remembered that what he had to offer was even better.
Because we have Jesus to offer, we have no need to doubt our place. We have no need to feel like we have nothing to offer. Because we have Jesus, we can't sit silently and wallow in insecurity.
Insecurity robs the world of the gift we have to give. It diminishes our place as children of God. It misplaces our identity in ourselves instead of in Him. Certainly, we are limited, and certainly, we have reason to doubt ourselves, but the One who sent us is great and has overcome it all. He has chosen us and commissioned us, and He did it knowing everything about us.
"...but what I do have I give you." That's how we should respond.
And when we do? When we offer Jesus at every opportunity? Well, that's when the stories end happily.
Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.Acts 3:7
So, I listen to my friend and her mother's heart deferred. I offer her encouragement and prayers and support and hope–the markers of Christ himself. The next day, I will text her, and the day after, I will pray some more. I will offer her the reminder of the God we serve, of His good plans for her, of His healing touch, of His appeal to run to His arms and to daily come back to His hope and promise and comfort.
I can't offer her first-hand experience, and I can't offer it to the rest of the table either, but I can offer them something far greater–Jesus and the heart that He placed within me, the one that's patterned after His.
People need a Savior more than good stories, and they need His mercy more than money. So, the next time you find yourself doubting what you have to offer and hiding silently behind insecurity, remember what you do have to give and give Him with abundance and confidence.
You have Jesus to offer, and that's better than anything else.