September 25, 2012
When God wants to get my attention he repeats himself. I know this can sound a little bizarre, but through different avenues God keeps pointing to weakness. He is pointing to my weakness and saying, “this is the basis for ministry.” There is a temptation to present yourself as having it all together and letting people think the best of you. Yet, as I’ve talked to a couple godly friends they have all spoken of ministering out of weakness.
All of these guys are involved in starting churches and have gone through, to varying degrees, what we’re doing right now. One of them spoke of his own insecurities being revealed and seeing how he had too much confidence in himself. He had the wrong kind of swagger that was rooted in pride and self-sufficiency. As God exposed this he began to learn in new ways of his own need of Jesus and found a greater ability to love and serve others.
Another spoke of raising money and the feeling of dependency that arises when you are not in control. You ask and some say “yes,” others, “no.” It helps you not to take yourself to seriously and be okay with rejection. Then when you aren’t sure where the money will come from God brings it together and you realize that God doesn’t really need you.
Then in an additional conversation a guy who is at the beginning stages of starting a new church told me that raising money is a great opportunity to practice repentance. Each day when you are anxious, overly burdened, or trying to cope through distractions you can go to Jesus again for forgiveness and renewal. It is not about being a tough guy and making things happen, but going to God again. We all want to be an example of God making someone strong and successful, but instead he wants us to demonstrate the sufficiency of God’s mercy.
I’m still processing this as a write. But here is a passage that has been essential for us these past few weeks:
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart…. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:1,6-18
It stood out to me that the author, the apostle Paul, knew about losing heart. He knows about fading away, feeling like he is coming apart and in this context God renews him and lifts his eyes to the heavens where another reality is present. There is a strange dynamic in our lives in which we feel both weaker and stronger after a year plus of transition. We are both learning about weakness and God’s use of it in our lives and for the sake of others.
As I wrote this last night, my head slumped onto my chest and then the computer. I was exhausted on multiple levels, but then I woke this morning. The bible says that God’s mercies are new each day and he continues to confirm that reality in our lives. He helps me to live in both weakness and strength.