Tuesday, April 5, 2011

An Inconvenient Boast

The Apostle Paul to the Corinthians:

“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”

~2 Corinthians 11:30 (NRSV).

This claim of Paul’s — on the surface — is either bold or foolish, or both.

But, it’s a boast most worthy of the Lord.

How many people find it easy to boast of their weakness? Yet, the Gospel paradox swings through the canopy of worldly sense, hanging on strong vines that represent life for others — that for which we bring, in the power of God, through love.

Us for them, and them for us; but with no strings attached.

It’s an inconvenient boast that sees us humble ourselves, with only one entity — the most important One, God — blessing us.

Only Works For God

But, there’s no use humbling ourselves if we’re not shining for Jesus. Giving up our rights to boasting or accolades or the things we’d normally seek to acquire for ourselves makes no sense unless we do it for God.

Then, it makes all the sense in the world, for we’re storing up our blessings elsewhere.

This inconvenient boast, now, becomes everything to live for, as we’re filled from within in the power of the Holy Spirit.

With faith, this power of God will be known in our world, as we start things in love!

Tangible ‘Inconvenient’ Boasts:

þ Owning up when we don’t know something — even when we’re meant to know. This means shelving the temptation to pretend we know, or fudge our way through.

þ Giving credit where it’s due — even when it looks like we were the ones who deserve it. Go further; give credit where it’s not as due as they’d think. Think of the love-vibe implicit of those sorts of moves! This is the power of the Gospel that runs clear across the world’s language of wisdom.

þ Actually admitting our weaknesses. In the company of trusted others, we don’t hide things like fetishes, the things that make us angry, greedy and proud. Leaders have the opportunity, especially, to de-mystify how pious they are, inviting lesser-ones who seek guidance to invoke the truth on themselves. Peace is the result for honesty.

þ The way others suffer reduces resonant notes of our own suffering in this form of boasting. Our own suffering merely highlights to us from God, just what suffering others are capable of withstanding. There will always be some worse off than us.

An inconvenient boast is seeing the boast-worthy away from us. It’s rejecting our own typical boasts, for a supremely better type.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Graphic Credit: El Greco, 1606.

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