Archive for the ‘strength’ Tag

Be Strong   Leave a comment

I don’t know about you, but I would never choose to be someone with weaknesses.  Like most people, I have spent a great deal of effort to do things well.  I always assumed that I would be able to do all the things I planned when I was twenty years old.  I thought that strength was something that the blessed always had.

But what I have found is something quite different.  Despite my best efforts to be strong, I have found myself to be weak.

I don’t have the energy and ability to do all the things I thought I would do.  I have had to learn to approach each new thing from a place of weakness.

Something I learned recently has been helpful.  “Be strong” doesn’t mean that you just are strong.  It doesn’t mean you’ve made yourself be strong.  And it doesn’t mean that you have to work hard to somehow get to that fever pitch of strongness that will see you through whatever your challenge is.  Apparently when this phrase is used in the New Testament, the meaning is, “because you are being made strong.”  This truth makes a verse that I have always tried–and failed–to live up to, make a lot more sense.

What I am living now is the reality that “be strong” means I’m being made strong.  That by definition means that I’m starting out the opposite.  I am starting from a place of being unable to live strong.  I’m starting from a place of weakness, a place in which despite my best efforts, I cannot do the things I need to do on my own.  Everything that I do in a given day is because I’m being given the strength to do it.  There is no way on my own I could summon up what I need.  It does take courage to keep doing the next thing when it seems too hard to do.  However, I suspect that courage is also a gift.

I can’t help but wish that I would experience the opposite situation, where I hope to be able to just live my life without thinking about where my strength comes from.

On the other hand, it’s not a bad thing to know where your strength actually comes from.

Posted April 2, 2020 by swanatbagend in reflections

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From Weakness   Leave a comment

Have you ever noticed that the Christian church culture promotes a certain definition of service?

It usually involves helping a needy person, which is great.  I like many of the ideas I’ve seen, the days where churches open their buildings for a medical clinic, clothes, glasses, winter coats, vaccinations.  The food pantry is a solid way to serve.  Habitat for Humanity and Heifer Project are fantastic ministries.

You can help in the nursery or kids’ programs at your church, and I’m pretty sure, when it comes to kids’ programming, you are desperately needed.  You can package and load shoe boxes for Samaritan’s Purse before Christmas.  You can volunteer with the Salvation Army, or with Dare to Care.  Your local state or city park could use people on trash patrol or trail maintenance.

Over the years, I’ve heard of many other ways to serve that I’m not even remembering at this point.  You’ve all heard the calls from various ministries that need volunteers.

Volunteering, service, looking outward–that’s how it should be.

The problem is the implication that the volunteer doesn’t have any needs.  He doesn’t have problems, disease, or suffering.  After all, he’s the one helping “the least of these.”

The logical conclusion from the context of these assumptions is that people who are well can do works of service.  Furthermore, they are strong.  The next step is then believing that if you don’t have strength, there is no place for you to serve.  If you can’t fit the model put forth, you can’t serve.  You aren’t qualified.  What you have to offer isn’t enough.

 

Should we assume that health, strength and power are a prerequisite?

Must one always be young, energetic, and passionate about a cause to make a difference?

Does service always have to be what is understood to be volunteering?

What if each person, led by God, chose his path to helping others ?

Do the poor in spirit have something to give?

Can one lead from a place of weakness?

Posted December 17, 2019 by swanatbagend in servanthood

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