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Posts Tagged ‘1 corinthians 12’

false_advertising-img-685I remember well the day that my oldest daughter was faced with the realities of false boasting of advertisers.

It was the Butterfly Barbie. She was shown on the TV advertisements flying through the air (not a hair out of place), her sparkling wings looking gossamer soft. What we brought home from the store required human assistance to soar, and her soft-looking wings had a plastic backing. A great learning opportunity that purchase was for this budding consumer.

False boasting of advertisers have always existed. Whether it is a toy, a hamburger, wrinkle cream or weight loss plan these cons are everywhere, leading people, and their hard-earned money, astray.

It is such a relief that false boasts do not exist in the Christian community …

Go visit a Christian book store, and you will find the equivalent of a ‘self help’ section. Attend a Christian conference, and you will leave believing that ‘you’ can do anything. Show up at a Christ-centered church on any given Sunday, and you will be reminded of the boundless power of the Holy Spirit within you.

So, are those examples of (well-intended) false boasting?

Lets check the king of understanding what it is to boast …

The apostle Paul (I like him),  he was a man who refused to boast about what he did, what he would do or what he could do. As a matter of fact 2 Corinthians 12:5 tells us what he would and would not boast about :

“I will not boast about myself,
except about my weaknesses.”

Hum, ever been to church and heard someone get up and boast about their weaknesses?

Ever been to a Christian conference where the key note speaker addressed weaknesses?

Ever bought a how-to book at the Christian bookstore that explained how to share your weaknesses?

I’m doubting that any of us has experienced that sort of boasting.

Maybe this is why, when non-believers are asked why they do not go to church, a common response is hypocrisy. According to and article in USA Today, a “survey of U.S. adults who don’t go to church, even on holidays, finds 72% say “God, a higher or supreme being, actually exists.” But just as many (72%) also say the church is “full of hypocrites.””

Are we being humbly real?

Or are we pretending that we have it all together?

Our friend, Paul, goes on to explain his rationale regarding boasting about his weaknesses in verses 6-10 :

“Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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.

Don’t we all have a thorn in our flesh?

We do not know what Paul’s thorn was, but we know that Paul used this painful (thorns hurt) thing to keep him depending on God to be his strength in weakness.

I’m not sure that I could have such a positive perspective on pain … I’m not sure that Paul did ALL THE TIME … but I do know that when I am struggling, when I am in pain, when I am hurting, it is then that I rely more on God.

Maybe others need to see, not the lie of perfect lives, but the reality of pain …

and that it can draw us to our heavenly Father, so that His “power is made perfect in weakness”

Boast in this :

we are weak

He is perfect

There’s nothing false about that!

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13-careers-for-the-next-decade

In our society today (and I expect in any society, at any time in history) there is an unwritten hierarchy of jobs and professions.

Of course the job of a doctor is more essential to our society than that of a garbage collector … until those garbage collectors go on strike, and garbage builds up in the streets, and rats are present in large numbers in our cities, and diseases begin to fun rampant.

Or that of a school administrator is more important than that of a school’s administrative assistant … what am I saying, everyone knows that those who work in the front offices of schools are the ones who really run the schools 😉 .

C.S. Lewis said,
“I reject at one and idea which lingers in the mind of some modern people that cultural activities are in their own right spiritual and meritorious-as though scholars and poets were intrinsically more pleasing to God than scavengers and boot lacks (shoe shiners).

… The work of Beethoven and the work of a charwoman (cleaning woman) become spiritual on precisely the same condition, that of being offered to God, of being done humbly ‘as to the Lord,’ ”
(The Weight of Glory)

What is it that makes us prioritize one person’s profession over that of another? What is it that makes one person’s job ‘essential’ and another simply supplementary to that more important role?

It makes me think of the scripture from 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 :

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

Each person has a job, like each part of our body has a role to play. One only needs to stub their toe, a part often ignored, to realize how very important that toe is to our balance and our walk. The key is not the value of one profession or job over another, the key is who we are doing the job for, and the effort we are investing in the accomplishing of it.

As I was writing this post, I was listening to Chuck Swindoll speaking on Joshua. He spoke of years ago watching a television broadcast of a Presidential address from Ronald Reagan and how he heard little of what the President said, because he was trying to make out the words on a brass plaque on the President’s desk. The next day his secretary was able to contact the White House and uncover the words :

“There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go
if he does not mind who gets the credit.”

(Charles Edward Montague, English novelist and essayist)

Although those words deliver a good message, I would choose to re-write it, integrating into it the words of C. S. Lewis, as follows:

“There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go
if he will offer it to God, doing it all humbly ‘as to the Lord.”

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