But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
In political campaigns, supporters do their best to extol the strengths of their candidate and exploit the weaknesses of their opponent. In military campaigns the same is true. So it seems logical that churches would try to do something similar: try to look good, boast of our accomplishments, tell others how much better we are. Yet that may be the opposite of how God’s kingdom grows. It’s not our successes, but our failures that display our hope for redemption. It is not our strengths, but our weaknesses that testify to God’s power. The Gospel allows us to be honest about our sins and limitations, because we are confident in God’s forgiveness and power. As Oscar Wilde once put it, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
Heavenly Father, open our eyes to Your grace and give us honest hearts, that others may see in our weaknesses Your strength, in Jesus’ name, amen.
THE BEST SELLER…
A pastor concluded that his church was getting into very serious financial trouble. While checking the church storeroom, he discovered several cartons of new Bibles that had never been opened and distributed.
So on Sunday, he asked for three volunteers from the congregation who would be willing to sell the Bibles door-to-door for $10 each to raise the desperately needed money for the church.
Jack, Paul and Louie all raised their hands to volunteer for the task.
The minister knew that Jack and Paul earned their living as salesmen and were likely capable of selling some Bibles. But he had serious doubts about Louie, a local farmer who had always kept to himself because he was embarrassed by his speech impediment. Poor Louie stuttered badly. But, not wanting to discourage Louie, the minister decided to let him try anyway.
He sent the three of them out with the back seats of their cars stacked with Bibles. He asked them to meet with him and report the results of their door-to-door selling efforts the following Saturday.
Anxious to find out how successful they were, on Saturday the minister asked Jack, "Well, Jack, how did you make out selling our Bibles this week?"
Proudly handing the minister an envelope, Jack replied, "Using my sales prowess, I was able to sell 20 Bibles, and here's the $200 I collected on behalf of the church."
"Fine job, Jack!” the minister said, vigorously shaking his hand. "You are indeed a fine salesman and the church is indebted to you."
Turning to Paul, "And Paul, how many Bibles did you sell for the church this week?"
Paul, smiling and sticking out his chest, confidently replied, "I am a professional salesman. I sold 28 Bibles on behalf of the church, and here's $280 I collected."
The minister responded, "That's absolutely splendid, Paul. You are truly a professional salesman and the church is indebted to you."
Apprehensively, the minister turned to Louie and said, "And Louie, did you manage to sell any Bibles this week?" Louie silently offered the minister a large envelope. The minister opened it and counted the contents. "What is this? Louie, there's $3200 in here! Are you suggesting that you sold 320 Bibles for the church, door to door, in just one week?"
Louie just nodded. “That's impossible!" both Jack and Paul said in unison. "We are professional salesmen, yet you claim to have sold 10 times as many Bibles as we could."
"Yes, this does seem unlikely," the minister agreed. "I think you'd better explain how you managed to accomplish this, Louie."
Louie shrugged. "I-I-I re-re-really do-do-don't kn-kn-know f-f-f-for sh-sh-sh-sure," he stammered. "A-a-a-all I-I-I s-s-said wa-wa-was, ‘W-w-w-w-would y-y-y-you l-l-l-l-l-like t-t-to b-b-b-buy th-th-th-this b-b-b-b-bible f-f-for t-t-ten b-b-b-bucks ------o-o-o-or-------- wo-wo-would yo-you j-j-j-just l-like m-m-me t-t-to st-st-stand h-h-here and r-r-r-r-r-read it t-to y-y-you??’"
God show His strength through your weaknesses this week!
As Pastor at Pilgrim, Kirk is fueled by a passion for God's Word and a lot of good coffee.