I don’t remember when I first heard it or who said it, but it has stuck with me for over 50 years. It sounds “cute” and cliché-ish when you first hear it, but when you think about it a bit, it becomes very clear as to how profoundly true and impactful it is.
The greatest ability is availability!
There is so much emphasis today on abilities/talents/gifts/ when it comes to current and future leadership. What about the less gifted but more available?
In my early years with The Navigators we used to say, “Look for the FAT man!”
Now, you may find people who are faithful and teachable, but what good is it if they are not available? The people you are thinking about might not be “available” for a few reasons:
- They are not interested in what you are offering;
- They are poor at managing and stewarding their time;
- They are not committed to much of anything when it comes to eternal issues;
- They are swimming in personal issues and not emotionally ready to be available;
- They are spending time on things that don’t really matter in the long run and, therefore, are not available for what really does matter (confused priorities).
I am often reminded of the little boy in the gospels with the five loaves and two fish. Given the size of the crowd he didn’t have much to offer, but what he did have, he made “Available,” and Jesus took care of rest–as he always does!
I wonder how many other people in the crowd also had a lunch with them, but never made it available? Wow, did they miss out on the experience of a life-time!
It’s a no brainer in my book to select the less talented who is totally available to God than to select the multi-talented who is not truly available or only available on his/her terms. I have “chased” a number of the “not availables” over the years, all to no avail.
Honestly, I don’t see myself as a super talented or gifted leader. I don’t have the kind of personality or charm that turns heads when I walk into a room. But early in my Christian experience I told the Lord that I was willing to go anywhere and do anything that he wanted me to do. I believe that this availability has taken me places that talent and personality would never have taken me. I believe with all my heart that God loves to take ordinary people and do extraordinary things. This is the story of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
Isaiah 6:8 is a verse that I have returned to many times through the years: “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, whom shall I send and who will go for us? Then I said, here I am! Send me.” (ESV) I still have the Bible I purchased in 1960 shortly after becoming a Christian, and in that Bible next to Isaiah 6:8 is written, “Me Lord!” I still feel that way after 59 years of walking with my wonderful Savior.
There are too many who say: Here I am, send him or send her, but not me; I’m too busy; I’m too tired; I’m too old; I’m too young; I’m too sick!
I’m glad that David, Daniel, Ruth, Esther, Paul, Isaiah, Jeremiah (and a host of others in the Bible and in history) didn’t offer excuses but offered God-empowered “availability.” Yes, far and away, the greatest ability is availability!