THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
STRENGTH IN WEAKNESS
2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Yesterday we looked at the humility of a servant leader, and
how worldly acclaim can bring him down. Pride unfortunately
is part of our fallen nature, and no one is immune, even the
greatest among God’s people like Paul (in fact those
who are great are most at risk). God gave Paul “visions
and revelations” (2 Cor 12:1) and Paul “was caught
up into Paradise and heard ineffable things, which no one
may utter.” (2 Cor 12:4). Wow! That is so much more
than just worldly applause. So Paul said, “if I should
wish to boast, I would not be foolish, for I would be telling
the truth.” (2 Cor 12:6a).
protected Paul. As Paul himself acknowledges, “that
I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given
to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being
too elated.” (2 Cor 12:7b). The blessings were great,
the antidote to pride was also great, an angel of Satan himself!
Paul had said (yesterday) that he would boast of the things
that show his weakness. Now he explains why. “I will
rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the
power of Christ may dwell with me.” (2 Cor 12:9b). You
see, we do God’s work. We are mere instruments. When
we begin to focus on our own abilities or strengths, engendering
pride, then we fall. But when we see that we are nothing apart
from God, when we recognize that we in fact are oftentimes
the obstacles to God’s work, when we then look to God’s
power, then that power of God enters into us.
that not liberating? We do not need to look to our own strength.
We can go forth to do God’s work even with our shortcomings.
The grace of God is sufficient to those who are His true instruments.
Jesus himself assured Paul, as he does us, “My grace
is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”
(2 Cor 12:9a).
divine contradiction! Worldly leaders always project strength
and hide weaknesses, always look to positive results and abhor
seemingly negative things. But if we work for Christ, then
our spiritual well-being is not dependent on outcomes. We
simply serve. “Therefore, I am content with weaknesses,
insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the
sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
(2 Cor 12:10). In humility, God exalts us. In weakness, God
is why Jesus tells us, “do not worry about your life”
(Mt 6:25a). This is not only about food and clothing, but
also about service. Just serve humbly and simply, and he who
calls us to serve will provide whatever you need. “But
seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all
these things will be given you besides.” (Mt 6:33).
do our part, and God does His. We are to fear Him, take refuge
in Him, seek Him. Then everything else falls into place. “The
angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he
saves them. .... blessed is the stalwart one who takes refuge
in him. .... nothing is lacking to those who fear him. ....
those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Ps 34:8-11).