MONDAY THOUGHT OF THE DAY (18th May 2020)
A very good morning to you. It is a pleasure to be back with you. How was your last week? I hope you are enjoying the gorgeous sunshine God had provided for us these few days.
Let us begin with a first Century prayer by Clement of Rome. These prayers are regarded as “the oldest Christian prayers known outside Scripture”
Let us pray:
Grant to us, Lord, that we may set our hope on your name which is the primal source of all creation, and open the eyes of our hearts, that we may know you, who alone dwells in the highest heavens, holy in the holy, who lays low the insolence of the proud, who sets the lowly on high, and brings the lofty low, who makes rich and makes poor, who kills and makes alive, who alone is the Benefactor of spirits and the God of all flesh, who looks into the abyss, who scans the works of man, the provider of those who are in peril, the Saviour of those who are in despair, the Creator and Overseer of every spirit, who multiplies the nations on earth, and has chosen out from all men those that love you through Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom you instructed us, sanctified us, and honoured us. Amen.
The Collect of the Week (Sixth Sunday of Easter)
Eternal God, whose Son Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life: grant that we may walk in his way, rejoice in his truth, and share his risen life; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Our Bible reading today is taken from 2 Corinthians 12 :7-10. The context is Paul is defending his apostleship against the false teachers who claimed to be super apostles. They infiltrated the Corinthian churches declaring that Paul is at best the least of the apostles.
Paul here defended his ministry of how and why he humbled himself to serve the Corinthian Christians. It is because he loved them. Paul says that if the false apostles can boast, he too can foolishly boast even more.
- He can boast about his apostleship that is cemented by his status as a par excellent Jew through his pure birth linage and strict pharisaic training.
- He can boast that he is better than them as a servant of Christ because he served and suffered more for Christ than any of the apostles.
- He even can boast that he went up to the third heaven where he heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. (2 Corinthians 12 :1-4)
Yet, Paul says if he should choose to boast, he will not boast about himself except about his weaknesses. He does not want anyone to think more of him than is warranted by what he does or says.
Paul now says …
Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
I AM NOT READY!
“But God said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness'” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
If there is one thing that is consistent throughout scripture, it is this: God calls people when they are not ready. God will never call you into service when you think you are ready. This is intentional on God’s part.
And, you can be sure when God calls you, you will have similar responses as Saul did when he was called to be the first king, or Gideon, when he was called to take down the idols in his nation, or Moses, when he was called to deliver his people from Egypt.
Saul answered, “But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why do you say such a thing to me?” (1 Samuel 9:21).
Gideon asked God, “But Lord, how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (Judges 6:15).
Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11).
When God calls, you will most likely be in the most unlikely circumstances to receive that call. You will be in the midst of a crisis, you will lack resources, you will not have the skills you think you need. This too is the way of God.
God does this because He wants you to know your call is only based on His ability, not yours. When you think it is based on you, this is a false humility. And, it is unbelief and disobedience on your part.
When I was a young theological seminarian about 40 years ago, there was a phrase was constantly drummed into us by my lecturers. The phrase is, “God will use you not because you are able but more so because you avail yourself.
Paul found out this wonderful truth with the thorn in his flesh – that God refused to remove even after Paul implored Him three times. Paul now can say, “Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me … for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9,10).
Has God called you to something you did not respond because you felt you were not ready? Today you can let God accomplish great things through you. Avail yourself to God and He will make hispower perfect in your weaknesses.
Let us pray: (For the Spread of Christ’s Kingdom)
Almighty God and heavenly Father, in your infinite love and goodness towards us, you have given to us your only and most dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Redeemer and the Author of eternal life. After he completed our redemption by his death and ascended into heaven, he sent his apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers, and pastors abroad into the world. By their work and ministry, he gathered together a great flock from all parts of the world, for the eternal praise of your holy name. For these great benefits of your eternal goodness we give our most humble thanks. We praise and worship you, and we humbly pray, by your blessed Son, grant to all your people everywhere who call on your holy name, that we may continue to show ourselves thankful to you for these and all your other benefits, and that we may daily increase and go forward in knowledge and faith in you and your Son by the Holy Spirit, so that your holy name may be forever glorified, and your blessed kingdom enlarged; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen. 
The Morning Collect
Eternal God and Father, by whose power we are created and by whose love we are redeemed: guide and strengthen us by your Spirit, that we may give ourselves to your service, and live this day in love to one another and to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. May we rekindle the gift of God within us.
A very good morning to you.
 Clement of Rome, First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians.
 Adapted from, “Today God Is First, Volume 2 by Os Hillman”. (Thursday, 08 November 2012)
 Source: Sarum Rite, Eleventh Century, Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Middle Ages, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1954.