Whoa! Those are pretty radical statements to make. Radical, but true.
Anything that focuses our relationship with the Lord or our service for Him on the arena of our own natural abilities, strengths, and talents sets us up for a fall. Even when it sounds honorable.
The Apostle Paul put it this way in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10…
9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
It sounds noble and authentic to want to be “strong enough” to serve the Lord. After all, doesn’t He deserve us to be in the fittest shape possible? It also seems appropriate to dedicate our good gifts and talents to the Lord, doesn’t it? Here’s the subtle devastating shift…
The focus is not on the strength of Christ. It’s on the development and confidence in my strength. Dedication of “my talents” does virtually the same thing. It draws our attention to our abilities. But, didn’t God give us those gifts and talents? Yep. To submit to His strength. They have no intrinsic energy of their own to accomplish a God sized eternal task.
As I’ve studied the stories of the men and women through whom God has most clearly demonstrated the power of His Spirit, I’ve discovered that all of them have come to the end of all confidence in themselves. In parallel with that discovery, they’ve realized the reality of consciously giving themselves as empty vessels to be filled by His Spirit. Not as an occasional submission, but as a daily choice. Sometimes multiple times daily.
The most blessed place to be is at the end of your rope and the beginning of His strength being made perfect (complete) in and through your weakness.
It’s also the most frustrating to the flesh. We just don’t want to believe that we can’t be at least partial contributors to His victories.
You and I have a great deal to offer the Lord. Ourselves. Not our talents. But, ourselves as His children. Not our strengths. (We have none to match the the reality of the task in front of us.) But, we have ourselves to offer Him as vessels to use any way He deems fit at the moment.
There is a treasure. But, it’s in an EARTHEN vessel. He delights to flow through us to accomplish what we could never attain on our own.
Be emptied and be filled, daily. That’s the prescription for the ABUNDANT LIFE.