Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:4-6
“We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we can do anything of lasting value by ourselves. Our only power and success come from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life” [2 Corinthians 3:4-6 NLT]
Continuing to speak about his ministry, Paul emphasizes that the source of any blessing and success that he has had came from God. Many years ago a great Bible teacher, Graham Scroggie, wrote a book entitled “His Part and Ours”. In our reading today we can see God’s part and Paul’s part. Paul’s part is confidence and trust in God, and God’s part is to enable, empower and give Paul success. In 1856 James D. Burns wrote a wonderful hymn that contains the verse,
“As helpless as a child who clings,
Fast to his father’s arm,
And casts his weakness on the strength
That keeps him safe from harm;
So I, my Father, cling to Thee,
And every passing hour
Would link my earthly feebleness
To Thine Almighty power”
In those last two lines is the secret of Paul’s success. He recognised that of himself he could nothing of any lasting value. He doesn’t want to boast of himself, or of how good he is. The reason people understood the truth was because God communicated it to them. Paul recognised that he had no power by reason to convince or convert sinners. That was all of God. It was Paul’s responsibility to confidently trust God to work through him inspite of himself.
In September 1966 I preached in a packed Methodist Church in Yorkshire. It was a wonderful sermon about the prodigal son. Dozens of people responded for prayer, and after the service I walked among the people with my head held high, listening to words of praise for my preaching. I was just twenty years old.
I shook hands with people as they went home. Mavis grabbed my hand and said, “You didn’t glorify God tonight, did you?” That night I got before God and He began to show me my arrogance and wrong things in my life. It was life changing! Years later, as I spoke at four services each weekend in Singapore, whilst going through cancer treatment, I found myself praying before each service, “I link my earthly feebleness, to Thine Almighty power.” Now bring this principle to every aspect of what you do, whether be in the church, as a father or mother, in school or the market place, or business. Success and lasting value in anything we do comes from God’s enabling as we put our confidence and trust in Him.
Just two questions – What has God said and challenged you about today? and, “What are you going to do about it?