My week has been full of appointments at a local hotel where over 600 ‘M’s’ converged for their annual conference. As chaplain/mentor/spiritual director of a few of their teams around the region, I was making good on the fact that they were all in one location.
At any rate, still operating on the schedule I had been provided some time ago, I showed up for various meetings until one day I get an apologetic call asking if they can change their time slot with me since it conflicted with other meetings. Confused, I inquired about the conflict since I was told the time slots given were free and clear. Well, apparently, the schedule changed without my knowledge. Now my time with people conflicted with hearing Michael Card talk through the book of John. Gee, Dave Shepherd or Michael Card…? Michael Card or Dave Shepherd…? “Do you mind if we find another time slot to meet…? I’d really like to hear Michael!” … So would I!
The following morning another cancellation call comes… “Do you mind if I sit in on Joe Stowell’s devotions instead of meeting with you?”
Joe Stowell’s in town too!!!? Save me a seat.
I couldn’t help feeling a bit odd and marginalized as I wandered the halls of the hotel looking for the people I’m to visit since the whole schedule and meeting places had changed without me. “They want to listen to Michael and Joe…not me…” What’s wrong with this picture? 🙂
For some reason, God nudged a friend to bring up 2 Cor. 12 in our men’s study that particular night. We were really talking about how to pray relationally instead of treating God like Santa Claus. But this guy felt Paul’s discussion on boasting in weakness was relevant to the topic at hand. I didn’t. It felt too close to the wounds I was nursing that evening.
“My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”
Really!? Even when marginalized and displaced? How could Paul be “glad”, stop focusing on the thorn and instead appreciate it as gift? (see 2 Cor. 12:7-10 in the Message) Somehow, the weakness makes way for the power of God.
(v. 10) “Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”
Later that evening, or maybe the next morning as I fought traffic to see if I needed to make another surprise schedule adjustment for the day, another passage occurred to me. Joe and Michael may get to plant the seed while I’m suppose to water and till the soil, but God makes it grow (for a tighter translation and/or paraphrase of this passage see 1 Cor. 3:6-7 in any version you prefer).
I’m not boasting yet… But I am grateful He even let’s me tend the soil of a few good souls. And, He even used the sower to stir life in me.
NOTE: To hear Michael Card teach through the book of John click here.