Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Right Might

And the LORD turned to him and said, Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you? -- Judges 6:14

We each have gifts, strengths and abilities as well as weaknesses.  None of us are perfect and complete alone, but neither are any of us completely helpless.  In order to accomplish anything, we must bring what we have to the task.  Instead of lamenting and regretting that we are not as talented, intelligent, strong, or courageous as someone else, we have to be willing to take on a challenge our way. 

If age has taught me anything and brought me any measure of wisdom, it is this:  there’s almost always more than one way to get something done.  I may not be able to do it the same way someone else does, but I may have a different strength or ability that can be brought to bear and accomplish the same ultimate goal. 

In fact, it is often the case with the Lord that He is able to make better use of our weaknesses than our strengths.   Gideon was clearly not a particularly brave and bold person.  This “might of yours” that God used to deliver Israel was, at least in part, Gideon’s lack of confidence in his own power and ability.  Facing an overwhelming task, Gideon knew that it was beyond anything he could do.  Gideon’s fleeces have been the fodder for many sermons about trusting and believing God.  Nevertheless, given the challenge he faced, Gideon was right in making certain that he really was hearing from the Lord. 

Our faults, flaws, and vulnerabilities can become our strength, as the Apostle Paul knew from very personal experience:

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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Weakness and lack of ability force us to rely solely on the Spirit and His power.  We used to quote the last part of Zechariah 4:6 a lot:  Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts, because we understood the futility of using the arm of the flesh or natural power to do what God has called us to do.  I fear that the Church has gained too much worldly wealth and power, too much political and cultural influence to live by that divine admonition these days.  

Yet, like Gideon, we are called to do what is impossible to the flesh, no matter how strong or wise or talented or brilliant we may be.  We are called to live a holy life in spite of the world, the flesh and the devil.  It is not just not easy.  It can't be done.  Christ alone was able to do it, and in Christ alone, humbly acknowledging our inability, we are able. 


Brigid said...

You words, as always are both uplifting and a balm. Thank you.

mushroom said...

Thanks, Brigid.