What I’m Reading Today: 2 Corinthians 12
If you got to know me – I mean REALLY know me – you might be surprised that I was able to answer the call to parish ministry. That’s because there are so many aspects of my personality that don’t seem to fit with the traditional practice of ministry.
Left to my own devices, for instance, I am one of the most opinionated people you will ever meet. I almost instantly have a strong opinion about any topic you might raise. This isn’t exactly a trait most folks are looking for when they seek out a pastor who is a kind and compassionate listener.
I also am very thin skinned. I get my feelings hurt very easily. As most pastors are lightening rods for controversy, being thin skinned is about the last quality you would want in a pastor.
I’m also a person who was strongly shaped by his rural, working class background. On most days I would much rather watch a ball game with friends than sit in a study and explore abstract dimensions of a text.
And if there is one thing in life I would avoid like the plague if given a chance it would be meetings. Most meetings take the life out of me within their first few minutes. And guess what most pastors spend a significant amount of time in? That’s right – you guessed it. Meetings. Ugh!
You can see why on paper I would be one of the least qualified individuals to be a pastor. And yet here I am.
So how did I end up here – in the practice of ministry?
The short answer is, “Because I was called.” Everyday that I walk out the front door and into my ministry, I know that in order to be effective in answering my call I have to get out of the way as much as possible and let God’s grace take over. On my own, I would be an absolute failure.
I suppose that’s why Paul’s words from today’s passage from 2 Corinthians resonate so strongly with me – because they speak to my experience. “My grace is enough; it’s all you need…” Paul begins by quoting God. “My strength,” he continued, “comes into its own in your weakness.” If you ask me, truer words have never been spoken!
Perhaps there are areas in your life where you have been feeling called to step up to the plate. The only thing that’s been holding you back, however, is your fear that you don’t have what it might take to succeed.
If that’s the case, don’t spend time feeling inadequate. Instead, take the time you might have previously spent beating yourself up, and use it to take a bold step out in faith – trusting that whatever it is you might lack to see things through will undoubtedly be made up through God’s ridiculously generous grace.
Til next time…