Hugh Bourne (pictured above) was one of two men God used to found a denomination back in 1812.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of founders I think of great men and women: multi-talented, mighty, fiery, and a cut above the rest.
Yet listen to this quote about Hugh Bourne. “About this time a morose and melancholy young man, so bashful as is seldom equaled, being in his 27th year was converted. Hugh Bourne was his name. Although very shy and diffident, he was very powerful in prayer and became a mighty champion for Christ.” (emphasis mine)
Hugh Bourne was actually so shy that he couldn’t look anyone in the face during a conversation. If you were standing on his left, he would be looking over to the right or staring down at the ground. Though he didn’t talk well with people, he was known to pray beautifully to the Lord, so soon people began asking him to preach. However, being “so bashful as is seldom equaled,” he repeatedly said “no.”
Nevertheless, one Sunday, in the summer of 1801, the church he attended was going to be without a preacher, so Hugh reluctantly agreed to preach. He thought only about a dozen or so people would be there, but so many people showed up to hear "the shy guy" preach, they had to hold the service outside!
Hugh was so frightened that he actually preached with his hand over his face the entire time. Despite that, God used Hugh to bring people to Christ. In fact, during Bourne’s life, the denomination he founded grew by an average of seven people a day with a new church planted every ten days!
That means an average of thirty-six new churches and over 2200 people coming to Christ every year!
What's the message in that? The message is that IT'S NOT ABOUT US! God can use us. God will use us. We just need to let Him. It’s not what we can do, but what God can do through us. It’s not our ability but our availability.
Think of John 6 where Jesus feeds the 5000 men (plus women and children), all Jesus needed to feed those thousands was one person to make himself available, one person who was willing to offer his little bit to God’s service.
When a little boy gave the Lord his five loaves and two fish, it was all Jesus needed. The size of the boy’s offering didn’t matter. It was what our Savior could do with it that mattered.
Similarly, Hugh Bourne’s incredible shyness didn’t matter. It was what God could do through a soul surrendered to Him that mattered.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the dreaded, “I’m not qualified” syndrome, but our qualifications mean very little to God. The Lord doesn’t collect resumes, keep the best ones, and chuck the rest. He doesn’t sift through S.A.T. scores and report cards looking for the A students. Nor does He look up our bank statements seeking the richest people to advance His cause.
No, He pushes all of that stuff aside. He pushes aside everything the world calls important, peers right into our hearts, and asks just one question: Are you willing?
Are you willing? That is all God asks. Nothing more. If Jesus is in our hearts, we are qualified. If the Holy Spirit is dwelling within us, we are qualified. So the only question that remains now is: Are you willing?
Well, are you?