Monday, July 6, 2015
It's a safe assumption that St. Paul was a Type A personality. Jesus chose him and enrolled him in Kingdom work.
Could anyone have a stronger sense of mission and empowerment?
Yet Paul maintained a humble spirit...
I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.
It's a lesson about persistent and unanswered prayer that he famously shares at the beginning of 2nd Corinthians, chapter twelve:
But he (the Lord) 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.
Last week I read a contemporary expression of this in The Upper Room Disciplines. The devotional wasn't written by a clergy person, rather by a lawyer, an Assistant Attorney General in Alabama, Margaret Fleming.
She describes her prayer life as a time for vulnerability and surrender "where I find my connection to a strength that is humble, gentle and yielding." Do you see that? Yet another paradox of faith where humility, gentleness and yielding are divine strengths.
I have fashioned some of Attorney Fleming's devotion into a prayer. (I hope she takes this as a compliment, not piracy.)
I acknowledge your claim on my life, private and public.
Assist my surrender,
To One whose will is superior to mine,
To One whose strength is made perfect in my weakness.
A humble attitude
That takes no offense at others' insults.
A flexible frame of mind
Capable of bending to others' points of view.
A good heart
That takes no note of others' wrongs.
An open schedule
That can accommodate others' needs.
Screen my priorities,
Clear the clutter,
Open my heart (and calendar),
To a better way,
To your way. Amen.