Thanks to those who have responded with real concern to The Weakness Series (over at the Ridley blog as well), particularly in wanting to encourage me that God uses the weak and to just get on with ministry, trusting him. However, part of the reason I want to think about this is not because I lack confidence, but because I want to offer my best to God and I want to know what that is.
So I’ve been thinking more about clarifying my question. It’s not “Am I competent enough to be used by God?” Rather, it’s, “Am I weak enough to bring glory to God?” Before you start getting annoyed with the arrogance of such a statement, let me explain. One of the reasons that God uses the weak is that then when he works, he gets the glory. One of the most striking Old Testament examples of that is when God depletes Gideon’s army so that they won’t think that they won the battle. While I don’t think that’s necessarily prescriptive for Christian ministry, it’s an interesting principle to consider. As I add skill after skill to my ministry artillery at college, there’s a danger of coming to rely on my own abilities, or, just as dangerous, that even if I rely on God, that my competence may cause others to credit me with God’s work.
I don’t say that because I’m a particularly accomplished minister, but because I think it’s a question for any minister from the West. We are arguably the wealthiest, most educated, most skilled up generation since the birth of the church. We are strong and competent. And yet, I wonder if that is our, indeed my, greatest problem. Without a skill deficiency, do we fail to understand that ministry happens because God does it?
Maybe? What do you reckon? Tell me:
- What would be the key indicators that we have worked out that God is the one who does the ministry, not us?
- Do you think our skill profusion is a weakness?
- If so, how ought we respond to that as our weakness? Accept that God can work throught it? Attempt to become ‘weaker’?
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.