Yesterday, we reflected on what happened in elders lives this past year. When they said yes to serving as elder, they considered the pros and cons, their schedules and abilities. They knew they faced challenges. But all things considered they accepted, as the form says, that this was the call of God on their lives.
Then life happened. Health problems. Changes in work schedule. Unemployment. Family issues. To name just a few. What started off as a challenge now seems even more daunting. To put it in the language of the psalms, we have become tottering fences (Psalm 62). What was God thinking calling into office those who are – or would soon become – tottering fences?
It just so happens that I am reading Leading with A Limp, by Dan B. Allender (a good and useful read). The very title leads us into our reality: leaders are far from perfect. We have family histories with their own consequences on our psyches. We have personal bias that blind us to the fullness of the truth. We have our own anxieties and fears that drive us. We have our own limited visions of the future that fail to embrace God’s desire. We have our own enslavements to our culture that divert us from Christ’s mission. Not to mention our family life, health condition, work life and our own spiritual questions. Limping, tottering.
But what happens if God says to us “I called you – not in ignorance – but because through you I work my grace and will build my kingdom. In your weakness, I am strong. In your lack, look for my abundance. In your brokenness, see the gift of my presence and healing. ” We may be stumbling forward, but we can do so with Jesus as our great shepherd and flawless King. In Christ, we have what we need.
The Christ who so loved us that he went to the cross for us knows us. He takes us limping and flawed people into church leadership because through us he has chosen to work the kingdom of his grace. We all have gifts from God to bring to the table through which the community is blessed. But we should not be surprised when God appears amid our weakness. In the paradoxes of God’s way, the cross leads to victory and in weakness, grace is revealed.
Just maybe it is in the wonder of this combination of our gifts and our weaknesses that God is able to work most powerfully the wonders of his grace.