Thanksgiving for Our Shortcomings Leads Us to Where We Need to Be: Totally Dependent on God!

Posted: June 11, 2015 in 1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 1:4-9 — Paul thanks God for the Corinthian believers. They belonged to Christ now. Therein lies his thanksgiving. Although Paul is about to address the many problems in the church at Corinth, he thanks God for the fact that they are believers and that through Christ, God has enriched them in every way. Through Jesus, God brought together many talents that would enable them to live Christian lives, to witness for Christ, and stand against the immorality and paganism of the day in Corinth. There is a lesson for us as the church of today in this opening to this letter. Sometimes, as churches wanting to be all that God has called us to be, we can become overly critical of ourselves and what we are not but yet we fail to see the gifts that God has given us.

As part of the leadership team at my church, I am aware of the shortcomings of our church, of where we are right now and where we want to be. I am aware of the fact that there are many who come to our church who fail to participate in ministry when I know there are many with gifts sitting in our seats. I am painfully aware that sometimes that reflects a lack of leadership on my part and on the parts of our entire leadership team. I am aware of what we are not and how we fall short of the mission at times. It is so much easier to believe the bad news. It is so much easier to say, yes, we fall short in this area. It is easier to believe that we are not where we want to be. It is easier to believe that we will never be what God called our church to be. It is easier to believe that achieving the goals set forth for us are not achievable.

But for all the things that we are not, for all the things we have not done, for all the things we try and fail at, we must be thankful for what God has done with our team. It is nothing short of a miracle that God has brought this team of leaders together at this time at this place with these people. I have never been a part of a group of Christ followers who are as passionate about the mission of our church as this team is. This team loves the Lord. Some churches have a few leaders that are passionate and the rest of the team gets pulled along, but at LifeSong, to the man (and the woman) each one is in love with the Lord in a way that is noticeable by others. From our senior pastor right down the line to the rest of the leadership team, you see the passion for Christ in each one. God brought that together. It may have seems like the paths of each leader to get to LifeSong was because of career and personal choices that led us to this town and this church. But God is all up in that. He orchestrated bringing this team together at this moment in time at this place to do the work that He has for us in this town, in this country, and this world right now. We may all eventually be scattered to the next phase of ministry with the next leadership team, but for this era of time, we are together by God’s divine providence.

Let us celebrate that. Let us be thankful for that. Let us be thankful for that as Paul was thankful for the group, imperfect as they were, at Corinth that God’s providence brought together. It is no accident. It is not random that God brought our leadership team together at LifeSong Church, imperfect as we are. We were brought together for this era of time to accomplish what God wants us to accomplish with the talents that this particular team has that will be required for the work that we have to do in this place at this time.

Earlier in this devotion, I stated that our leaders and me, myself, are painfully aware of what we are not, what we have tried and failed at, what our shortcomings are. We know what we want to be for our Savior and Lord, but yet we are not there yet. We know that. We are certainly aware of that. It is can be easy to give up when you can’t seem to engage people in the ministries of the church. It is easy to want to give up and say “ain’t nobody got time for that” and walk away. It is easy to see how other churches do it better than we do. It is easy to see that we are miles away from how we want to serve our Lord and how we desire to inspire others to do the same. Sure, there are procedural things and development of systems and processes things that we can do. Sure, there is the whole thing of making sure we have the right people in the right chairs (i.e., the right people with the right talents for specific jobs within the church). But, I think part of this self-examination of our shortcomings as a leadership team is the realization that we can do none of this under our own power. When we try to lead as Mark Bowling doing it or anyone else on our leadership team doing it, we will fail most assuredly. When it is about us struggling with the best of intentions and even in the most humble way, we will fail.

God is showing us through the revelation of our shortcomings as leaders that it is only through Him that we can do anything. What has happened at LifeSong over the past 7-8 years since its birth is nothing short of amazing. It is because of God. It is only through our thorough dependence on Him that these things have happened in the past 7-8 years. The only way that we will accomplish anything in the next 7-8 years is through total dependence on God. Our self-analysis reveals that we are not what we need to be, that’s where the humility comes in. That’s where the dependence comes in. That’s where the miracles happen. Let us forever realize that it is only through God that we accomplish anything at LifeSong. We are simply the stewards and the willing tools that He uses.

This is the message of Paul to the church at Corinth. Be thankful at the miracle of what God has brought together in this local body of Christ. Be thankful too that it God who orchestrates and it is simply we who participate. This is God’s message through Paul to us today at LifeSong. Be thankful for the team that God did not just randomly put together. There was intent and purpose to it for the job that He has given us to do in this time in this place with these people. Let us be thankful, too, that we see our shortcomings and do not think that we have got it made and have got it all figured out. Let us be thankful that we can see the areas where we need to improve because in seeing these shortcomings it raises our dependence on God. Total dependence on God is when the orchestration happens through our participation. Total dependence on God is when the miracles happen!

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