Hi everyone. Rob here.
In 1 Corinthians 1:22-25 the Apostle Paul writes this:
Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
It is always tempting to try and gain influence through power. If we get the right leaders, judges, CEO’s and so on then we can change the laws, policies and practices and make this country God’s again. Many groups, in God’s name, have tried this approach. They have become part of the power plays, lobbying for influence, trying to get their people elected and thus, acting in the same way as every other group lobbying for influence and power. The problem with this approach is that Christ himself gets in the way.
What do you do with a humiliated Saviour? Born under shameful circumstances, a refugee in his early years, a resident of a backwater town in a backwater province, arrested and found guilty of treason, dies a criminal’s death. Even his resurrection, that great and glorious act, was low-key and humble. This is our Lord and King. This is who Paul preaches. This is who we are called to follow, to emulate, to bow the knee to. It is a story that subverts the narrative that power comes through strength and status. Jesus says true power comes through joining him at the cross, experiencing genuine weakness and then being raised up with God’s strength.
How do we live this out in the public sphere? I always return to Matthew 13:31-32 and Matthew 22:37-39
He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.’
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Our small acts of love, of kindness and goodness matter. They make a big difference in the kingdom, in people’s lives and in our own hearts. When we let go of needing to get our own way and simply serve others with love, great things happen. We come to be trusted with people’s stories and hearts. When we come in to positions of power and influence, we still centre ourselves in the cross and in these principles. We still serve and give ourselves over to God’s agenda and not our own. We still cultivate love for God and others whether we’re a street cleaner or CEO; home executive or President, because doing things God’s way is the only way to get God’s things done. We can’t expect God’s will to be done on earth if we’re willing to bypass the lesson that Paul learnt:
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)
If the word weakness is putting you off, try substituting ‘vulnerability.’ It gets more to the heart of things. Vulnerability is where we take the risk of faith, of trust, of surrender, of sacrificial love. God was vulnerable through Christ and in his vulnerability loved us and saved us. May we be willing to be vulnerable in his name even as we seek to change the world.
Grace and peace everyone.