“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:10
Do you take pleasure in your strengths? In your skills, abilities, or talents? In finances, friends, social supports, programs, or agendas? In your education, intellect, understanding, or manipulations? Or do you, as Paul did, take pleasure in your weaknesses, lacks, and infirmities?
You see, the modern Christian often thinks they need to be successful to serve God with their successes. When in reality, God is not impressed. Our greatest possible successes could not even begin to impress the architect of the universe.
“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” – Matthew 24:1-2
God sees the big picture of time and eternity. He is not concerned with our petty playing and empty empire building anymore then a ruler might be concerned about a toddler building a sand castle at low tide. He knows it will all soon be washed away.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” – 2 Peter 3:10-12
No God is not at all impressed with our big churches, our nice homes, our landscaping, our fancy stages, our flashy lights, or even our large crowds. There is only one thing that impresses God, and that is faith. Why? Because true faith proves to God that we are not impressed by these things either, but rather recognize that they fail to even register on the scale of comparison to what He can build and do. No God is not impressed with anything that we can do, He is impressed when we impress upon Him the recognition of how much more He can do then what we can.
In this, Paul chose to glory more in what he could not do, in what he did not have, and in what he did not know, knowing that in all that he lacked, God was more able to miraculously shine forth through him, His own great limitless divinity! For only in the areas that Paul was weakest was God’s strength made most evident.
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
No He is not impressed with eloquent speech, He is impressed with a tongue tied stuttering man named Moses who trusted what God told him enough to stand before the greatest armies of the earth and say, “let my people go”. No He is not impressed with large followings, He is impressed with a faithful preacher who preached his whole life and never saved anyone outside of his own wife and kids Named Noah, who trusted what God told him enough to keep preaching an un-excepted, unappreciated, and unpopular message of repentance and judgment all the while building and setting before them the only way of escape. No He is not impressed with money or possessions, He is impressed with a homeless, diseased, grieving Job who trusted Him enough to say, “yet though You slay me, still will I serve You!” No He is not impressed by prestige or strength, He is impressed by an old man named Abraham trusting what He told him enough to lay down what meant most in the world to him. To give up land, life, and promise trusting in God’s faithfulness and ability to give more back then he could ever hope to lay down.
No He is not impressed with anything that we can come up with to do of our own understanding, effort, logic, or labor; or else He would have been impressed with Cain’s crop, and He wasn’t. He is only impressed when we trust what He tells us to do, this is why He was impressed with Abel’s sacrificial lamb. No He is not impressed with our achievements, He is only impressed by His, and by our acknowledgement that His are far better then ours could ever hope to be.
“For I (Paul) am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” – 1 Corinthians 15:9-10
“….for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.” – Luke 9:48
“Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth! He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people. He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.” – Psalms 113:5-9