Mike Barnes is a regular contributor to our blog. He is also part of the leadership of Gateway Fellowship in Sacramento, and we just happen to be in the same men's accountability group. He is a huge blessing in my life for a whole host of reasons. Donice and my connection to our local church is part of what keeps us balanced (her at least - probably not a whole lot of hope for me😉). But regardless, I know meeting with a group of fellow warriors early on a Monday morning is really good for me and my walk. I hope this is encouraging and challenging for you as well.
In His Love and Service,
Paul, the mighty apostle and author of much our New Testament, admits through his writings to times of weakness. Beyond admission, he even boasts in His infirmities knowing “when I am weak, then I am strong,” for the Lord’s grace and power is then manifoldly revealed.
Through whom was this grace and strength in times of struggle provided? Surely, the “power of Christ” that rested upon Paul was provided through the Spirit, but does not the New Testament also show that the Spirit’s work of refreshing Paul was, at times, through the very people he was teaching and ministering to? (Rom. 15:32, I Cor. 16:18)
I suspect there is a tendency to believe that our leaders need much less ‘assistance’ in their walks than the very flocks they oversee and tend to.
Leaders of His church: who is in the fabric of your daily walk to carry you, minister to you, and tend to your needs in those seasons when you’re worn out, can’t move ahead, or frightened at what the future seems to hold? Do you have the ability, like Paul, to speak of those who “are of great comfort” to you? (Col. 4:11)
I am often fascinated by both the comments and attributed worthiness given by our own Ray Van Gilst toward me and other men during our Monday morning meetings. The District Superintendent values the support, guidance, and insights of three or four regular guys who together are doing life and growing in faith. He, like each of us, is encouraged at times, offers insight at other times, and both supports and is supported most all of the time.
Who is in your sphere of influence and walking with you and to whom are you intimately tied to for inspiration, guidance, and support when needed? If Paul found need for others to bring him encouragement and comfort, in addition to a cloak and the tools by which he wrote letters to the churches, no doubt we all can use others’ help now and then.
Even more, has not the Lord designed His church to work in such an interdependent way? He who designed us with “many members” tells us that we cannot say to another, “I have no need of you.” (I Cor. 12:21) Instead, the need we have for each other is fashioned into us, His church, for He “composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.” (I Cor. 12:24-25) In bearing one another’s burdens, which includes allowing others to help in carrying, we display the ultimate gift—love, and reveal Christ himself as the source of strength.
In our seasons of weakness may we, like Paul, boast in our infirmities that the power of Christ may be revealed as His Spirit works in our hearts and through those He has placed in our lives.