“My grace is sufficient for you.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
A few last responses to the end of Paul’s second letter to the believers in Corinth. (I want to start something new in October so I want to finish this today!) Paul talks about something here that is a VERY hard pill to swallow in my culture of competitive greatness, self-confidence and assertiveness as the means of successful. He speaks of “foolishness,” of “weakness,” and even a “thorn in the flesh” to keep him from becoming conceited with all the “success” he was experiencing. A difference in his definition of greatness however is that he had EVERY reason to boast and be elevated to social greatness; he had every reason to be held up as a potential recipient of the spiritual “medal of honor.” His list of accomplishments and social heritage make me humble, and all the terrible things that happened to him make me shutter! Read about them in 11: 22-27)
But his signal of greatness was not in who he was or what he had been through, but in the fact that he continued to understand God’s roll in building him into something far greater than a national hero or a spiritual martyr. He was great because he was allowing God to make him great, according to GOD’S definition of greatness.
“My power,” says God, “is made perfect in your weakness.” And Paul’s response; so “when I am weak, then I am strong.” (12: 9-10) Apparently identifying my weaknesses is more important than flaunting my strengths. It keeps me from becoming proud and keeps me connected to the source of help and strength I need. He even sited the life of Jesus and described it as “crucified in weakness but alive in God’s power.” And then the sentence that helped it make sense. “Likewise we are weak in Him, yet by God’s power we will live with Him to serve you.” My “greatness” usually seems to focus my attention on me; not where God wants my attention focused. Realizing my weaknesses and turning them over to God gives Him the chance to strengthen me in HIS way for HIS purpose- and that purpose is to “serve others.” That’s how God defines greatness; that’s what Paul experienced and shared with those he was “serving;” and that’s what I want in my life too- my weakness made strong through Him SO THAT He can use me to serve His other children.
Have a great day discovering your weakness (and your Source of strength),
PS Tonight’s vespers will feature Skyping some of our SMs, hearing stories from our returned volunteers, AND a special opportunity to get involved in making a difference in the lives of the Maasai people of Africa. See you in the church @ 7:30
PPS Afterglow this week will be presented by our Missions Club in Woods right after vespers