“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.”
2 Corinthians 12:9
“Do you believe God can use you in your weakness to serve His church? Or is He only after your strength?” Over the course of this incredibly encouraging week, I’ve heard versions of these questions repeated often. You see, our elders have been meeting with men who are going through our officer training process to potentially serve as elders or deacons. This meeting was not a Bible quiz or a theology exam. It is an occasion for shepherding. And just as God so often does, He used the shepherding meetings to shepherd the shepherds.
Through it all, I’ve been blessed to be with a group of honest, vulnerable men who have come to our elders with their weaknesses, humbly seeking to discern God’s call and desperately desiring prayer. At one point, it was as if the Holy Spirit was telling us all, “I’m here to show you what it really means to be a people EMBRACING YOUR NEED OF JESUS.”
There is no doubt that Scripture clearly lays out a set of qualifications for those who will serve as elders or deacons (1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9). Scripture speaks to the spiritual gift mix that lines up with each office. But Scripture also makes clear that it is not our competency or skill set that Jesus needs in order for us to serve His church. What truly qualifies us to serve in His church is our dependence upon Him.
In our Vision Statement, we speak of “Embracing our need for Jesus.” This week gave me more clarity into that aspect of our vision. I’ve been reminded afresh that EMBRACING is not a one time event. It doesn’t merely mean there was a time in our past when we acknowledged our sin before Jesus and got our ticket punched for heaven. No. It is an ongoing experience of daily dependence upon Jesus for His for forgiveness, for His righteousness, and for the indwelling presence and power of His Spirit. To embrace, or rather to “be embracing” our need of Him is to live in the constant experience of our union in Him.
A big part of experiencing this union in Christ comes when we actually embrace the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 when he tells us Jesus’ power is made perfect in our weakness. This week, our elders were blessed with this reminder as man after man acknowledged their weakness and humbly sought prayer. We were able to encourage these men with the truth that the church will thrive more in their weakness than in their strength. Because in their weakness, we will truly be dependent upon Christ. In reminding our brothers, we were reminded ourselves. The Good Shepherd shepherded the shepherds.
As we move towards electing and ordaining a new set of elders and deacons, I pray that Christ Church will not simply put up with weakness, but rather in weakness will look to Jesus. I pray that we will know that it is ok for us to be finite, understanding that we don’t have unlimited time, or resources, or gifting. I pray that we will be reminded of God’s wisdom in not giving us these things, knowing instead that He gave us His Spirit…and He gave us each other. Finally, I pray we will know that no mere man (or woman) is the savior of the church. That role belongs to Jesus alone.