In today’s reading, Paul admits that his ministry and the successes of that ministry are from Jesus acting through Paul. In my imagination, I see Paul as quite the big-wig in the early Christian movement. He must have had folks tripping over themselves when he came to a town – at least folks involved with the movement, as I know he had many enemies as well. Within that growing number of people who believed that Paul was a true messenger of God, they must have treated him like a rock star. How hard would it be, then, to keep that celebrity in perspective? It would have been hard for me, I think. But, as Paul says in verse 17 (NSRV version) “In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast of my work for God.”
I don’t think it was mere coincidence that I heard a song by Casting Crowns on my way to work this morning that hit this exact same theme. The lyrics of the chorus are:
When I’m weak, you make me strong
When I’m blind, you shine your light on me
‘Cause I can’t get by living on my own ability
How refreshing to know you don’t need me
How amazing to find that you want me
So I’ll stand on your truth and I’ll fight with your strength
Until you bring the victory
By the power of Christ in me.
If it was true for Paul, it certainly remains true for us. Only through Christ will we have the strength to win our victories in life. And it is only in answering His call that you obtain that strength.