Weak. There’s something about this word I simply can’t stand. I hate what it means. I hate what it implies. And I HATE when I am weak. The irony of it all is I am quite weak right now and have been for several months. Not only that, but it’s getting worse because my doctors still can’t figure out how to stop the constant infection which plagues my sinuses and lungs. The funny thing is if you asked me my definition of “weak,” it’s entirely different than what one would find in a dictionary. In my opinion, “weak” is when a person wants to do something but simply doesn’t have the strength/ability to do it.
Told you my definition was different! But truthfully, I’m sure every sick person who’s reading this understands why I feel this way. We’ve all been there. Plans have been made. Suitcases packed. Everyone is ready to go. And we’re left trying to gather the little strength we have to simply get dressed and get in the car, all because of this one little word: weakness. It’s a daily part of a person’s life who’s suffering with a chronic illness, yet we struggle to find the words to express to those who are healthy to help them understand what we're facing. It’s no wonder so many of us often look at our lives and ask the question, “What can I do?” Better yet, “What can God do through me?”
In the Old Testament, before Jesus died on the cross, people would have to go to the temple and offer sacrifices to God as atonement for their sins. The laws were quite strict about what was required when giving a sacrifice, but the goal at every sacrifice was to provide a fragrant aroma and be acceptable to God. So when Paul says that what the Philippians did was “a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God,” he was in essence saying the Philippians gave a spiritual sacrifice to God, and God was honored because of it.
Since most of us aren’t Jewish, we struggle to understand the concept of Old Testament sacrifices. Yet because of our chronic illnesses, we understand what it is to push ourselves to give of our strength, time, and energy when we don’t have any to spare. And God is honored when we do! Paul says we are “well-pleasing to God.” I don’t know about you, but I long to please God. I want to honor Him with my life, even when it seems like there’s hardly anything I can give. When we do this, we are giving a spiritual sacrifice. God knows how weak we are and the effort it takes for some of us to simply get off the couch. He sees our sacrifice, and He’s honored by it. Not only that, but He blesses us because of it. In verse 19 when Paul says, “God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” the original Greek text indicates that God blesses those for giving when they have nothing to give, and this doesn’t necessarily refer to money. The God of everything sees our hearts and knows our lives. He knows what we have to give and what we don’t have to give, and He honors us when we honor Him.
Our strength may be limited, but God’s strength knows no limits. He can use the sickest, weakest of us all to do amazing, mind-blowing things for His kingdom. All He asks is that we be willing.
I’m willing. What about you?
“Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” ~ 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
© February 14, 2013
* Below is a music video I discovered yesterday, and it goes along perfectly with this lesson. I encourage you to take the time to listen to it, and I pray it blesses you as much as it has me. The song is "His Strength is Perfect" by Steven Curtis Chapman.