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I Would If I Could, or I Could If I Would

A young man was asked to take a place of leadership in a very strategic new ministry that was beginning. His immediate response was, "I would if I could," and then proceeded to give a long list of reasons (excuses) as to why he could not give the time, interest, and energy to this project. Even though he had all the gifts that were needed for this ministry, the excuse of, "I would if I could," was inevitably accepted.

Every leader in the church has heard this age-old lament, "I would if I could!" Moses used it on God when God called him into the ministry. He replied to the Lord, "...I am not eloquent...I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue" (Exodus 4:10). Jeremiah also used the same approach when God called him into the ministry (Jeremiah 1:6). I've even used it myself quite a number of times. I've had others use it on me from time to time.

In reality, it's an excuse. We need people who will reverse their excuse and tell the truth. The fact is..."I could if I would." We can do anything we ought to do! And there is so much we could do if we truly had the desire and the will to do it. Our problem most of the time is not in our abilities but in our will — in our desires.

It is true that there are many things we cannot do even if we wanted to do them. There are so many spiritual things that we cannot do by ourselves, but the Holy Spirit can and will do through us. Strong resolutions and determined wills on our part cannot do some things. It is God who works in us to make us will and do those spiritual things He will enable us to do. But most of the time the problem is not in our abilities but with our wills. It is not that "I would if I could..." but it is, "I could if I would!"

Right now you may be faced with a great opportunity to serve the Lord by using your talents, your money, and your time. Your natural inclination is to say, "I would give the Lord $10,000 if I could." And deep in your heart you know that you "could give $10,000 if you would!" Again, let me encourage each of us to remember that we must not be caught living in the "woulds" but we must live in the "coulds!"

Our church is filled with so many opportunities for each of us that there is never any reason for any member of the family to be without a ministry. Develop the "could spirit" and you will find a place where you will be greatly productive for the Savior and His church!

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward