Scripture: 1 Corinthians 4:11-13
To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.
Reflection: The Strength in Being Broken
By John Tillman
The Apostle Paul never took a strength-finder test. He preferred to boast, not in his strengths but his weaknesses.
Modern evaluative tests can be a helpful tool to match up serving opportunities with our temperaments, but when relied on too heavily, they can put the focus on ourselves. There is a danger of allowing our consumerism to affect even how we choose to serve in the church.
We live in a day where the popular idea behind ministry training is to focus on developing one’s gifts. Gift inventories, personality surveys, and strength indicator tests are the rage among those who want to be equipped for ministry today. But these kinds of tests set your eyes on your gifts. They put the focus on your strengths and your natural abilities. They make you the center of attention. However, the Lord is far more interested in your weaknesses than in your strengths. He’s interested in breaking you. Why? Because when there is less of you in the way, there is more room for Him to work.
As we survey church history, we discover that A. W. Tozer’s piercing observation is most accurate: “All great Christians have been wounded souls.”
Where we have been broken, we rely more heavily on Christ. And where we rely on ourselves, we are unlikely to do successful work for the kingdom.
It’s not hard to spot a Christian in ministry who isn’t broken. Unbroken people don’t know how to lay their lives down and lose. They only know how to try to win. If they’re criticized, they retaliate. If they’re attacked, they return fire. If misunderstood, they defend in anger. They are capable of doing all sorts of damage to others in order to save their own ministries and keep their reputations. On the contrary, people who have been broken by the hand of God know how to turn the other cheek. They know how to go the second mile. They know how to give their coats when asked for their shirts. They know how to speak well of those who misrepresent them. They know how to return good for evil. They know how to lose. And in so doing, they exhibit the Spirit of the Lamb and allow God to win.
What we learn through brokenness can’t be learned any other way. The strength we need to find has its source in Christ alone.
*Excerpts condensed from God’s Favorite Place on Earth by Frank Viola
The Call to Prayer
Taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are they who trust in him! — Psalm 34:8
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.