THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2011
BOASTING OF WEAKNESS
Today’s reading: 2 Corinthians 11:18-30
the world, “many boast according to the flesh”
(2 Cor 11:18a). They boast of human achievements, of human
qualities such as beauty or physical strength, of being elevated
to high renown in business, government or sports. These are
what make them happy and give them fulfillment. These are
what they seek after. Oftentimes, the boasting becomes sinful
such boasting in the flesh has also seeped into spiritual
work. Who has the biggest number of members? Who has the most
influence in the Church? Who has recognition from the hierarchy?
This can be the sinful pride of leaders. But members too are
mesmerized by such and are sucked into the fleshly realm,
not realizing how they become captivated by their leaders,
how they are led astray from the authentic faith, how they
are taken advantage of. “For you put up with it if someone
enslaves you, or devours you, or gets the better of you, or
puts on airs, or slaps you in the face.” (2 Cor 11:20).
What in truth is the mark of a “super-minister”
of Christ? (Paul was battling the so-called “superapostles”
who were leading the flock astray). It is not elevation to
an exalted position, it is not applause of the people, it
is not recognition by those in authority. It is the affliction
one undergoes for the cause of Christ.
counts is not the medal of honor pinned to one’s chest,
but the mark of scourging on one’s back. What is of
greater value is not the crown of jewels but the crown of
thorns. What merits God’s approval is not being raised
and seated on a throne but being raised and nailed to a cross.
What proves one’s authentic work is not the applause
of people but the jeers of onlookers.
so it is that Paul “boasted” of his afflictions.
“Are they ministers of Christ? I am still more, with
far greater labors, ....” (2 Cor 11:23a). Then he goes
on to list all the sufferings and pain he endured (2 Cor 11:23b-28).
Paul was not complaining. He was boasting. He wore his afflictions
as his badge of honor.
How is it with us? Do we seek comfort and convenience as we
serve the Lord? Do we get discouraged when the going gets
rough? Do we give up when we are not accorded the gratitude
and applause we think we deserve? Do we look only to the blessings
but shun the cross? Do we look more to the consolation of
loving relationships but are less receptive to the discipline
of being formed into an army?
us in CFC-FFL, God has honored us by deeming us fit to be
properly formed according to His way. He has deemed us fit
to endure suffering for His cause. God allowed the crisis
of 2007 that resulted in a split, but raised us as His remnant
that He would restore to our authentic charism. He formed
us through the lessons of Lamentations and then through the
lessons of Job. He impressed upon us the blessing of redemptive
suffering. He moved us along the path of discipleship and
prepared us to embrace the cross.
are we receiving all this? Are we learning our lessons? Are
we being formed according to the mind and heart of Christ
or according to the flesh? Are we avoiding or embracing the
cross? Are we helping or hindering God in His efforts to prepare
us for the greater work that is to come?
This year, on our 30th year, God offers us the fullness of
His strength. But that can only happen if we have been formed
through our weakness. Only as we have truly been laid low
can God raise us up. Only as we have been emptied can God
fill us. Only as we have embraced suffering can God truly
pour out His bountiful blessings upon us.
four years of intense formation, I pray that we can now truly
say, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that
show my weakness.” (2 Cor 11:30). Then we can rightfully
follow that up and say, “My God is now my strength!”
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Theme for 2011-Part40 [PDF]