Power Tools and Weakness


19, August, 2020Posted by :Zach Ellsworth

A few days ago, Hanna tasked me with installing some simple storage in our pantry. Seriously, they were so simple. The only assembly required was four small screws.

Unfortunately for me, I’ve never met a task that I couldn’t make more challenging.

When I finally finished, I was frustrated with myself for trying to be overly clever. In my attempt to save time and make less of a mess, I simply managed to waste time while ending up with the same mess.

Now I know this isn’t exactly riveting, but that’s part of my point. God happily uses the mundane parts of our lives to teach us more about himself. Which is terrific news since—if we’re honest—a significant part of our lives is relatively uninteresting. (Yard work, driving, cleaning dishes, etc.).

And so it was, as I put away my drill and cleaned up some food that I was struck by the insight of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:9–10:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

When Hanna asked me to handle this job, I knew I ought to use a power drill. I knew the power drill could handle in seconds what might take me minutes. Knowing my own limitations gave me the wisdom to choose something better than me.

Sadly, I didn’t know the entirety of my limitations. I had the wisdom to use the power drill, but not the wisdom to use it rightly. It was only after several minutes of repeating the same failure that I gave up and changed what I was doing. And you know what happened? I was immediately able to fasten the screws.

It wasn’t until I recognized and admitted my foolishness—my weakness—that I was able to get out of my own way and get the job done. The power drill didn’t change. Instead, I just stopped trying to be clever. Rather than compensating for my weakness or covering it, I let the power drill work to its full capacity in the place of my weakness.

This is the wonderful opportunity afforded to believers in Jesus Christ. How often things would change for the better if we just got out of the way and let Jesus work at full capacity! We don’t need to compensate or cover for our weaknesses. We can simply let Christ work in the place of them. It is only as we learn to embrace our weakness (that is, our lack of strength and ability) that we can truly learn to embrace the strength of Christ on our behalf. The weaker you are, the stronger Christ proves himself to be. And the stronger Christ proves himself to be, the more he shows himself worthy of all praise.

This, of course, isn’t to be used an excuse to never grow. It’s simply the realization that we will never be fully grown. This side of the new creation there will always be something lacking in you and I. But that lack leads us to dependence, and dependence proves Christ capable, and Christ’s capability grows our faith.

God can and will show the extraordinary through the ordinary (communion, anyone?). Now, anytime I reach for a power drill (or any other tool for that matter!), I hope the ordinary task will remind me of the extraordinary grace afforded to me. In my weakness, Christ’s power is displayed.

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