Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Boasting and Contentment ~ The Connection

Although the details elude me, the bottom line amplifies the connection between boasting and contentment.  Another ah-ha moment for me.

Those high school years, those years when acceptance or rejection communicates worth, are the setting for my memory.  In the short time of a month, not only my name but my picture made our local newspaper ~ all for good reasons, reasons that I could boast about.  In my mind, those pictures proved I had worth and camouflaged the insecure me.  I cut out the pictures and showed them to friends and family – I boasted.  For a short time, I was content.  It felt good.

But the good feeling soon shifted back to reality.  The pictures were forgotten; my worth reverted back to tenuous; and reality validated my thoughts about me.  I was not good enough!  And definitely not content.

My boasting and my contentment centered on a costume – something I donned for a short time in order to play a part; it was never the real me.  The newspaper pictures were not boasting about me; they were boasting about the costume I wore, the part I was playing.  Back then, I didn’t get it.  The connection was faulty.

II Corinthians 12, Paul’s testimony includes this ~  “… I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses …”  Whoa!  My boasting centered on perceived strengths; those things that were noticed and applauded by others; weaknesses were something to hide.  Paul says the opposite!

And as if to add insult to injury, not only does Paul set an example of boasting in his weaknesses, he goes on to say, he is content with weaknesses!  Content – at home with, ok with – with that which was weak.  Other versions of the Bible translate content as takes pleasure in.  That amplifies contentment – sets the bar even higher. 

Boasting, contentment, taking pleasure in weakness.  That’s a vulnerable life!  He is vulnerable before the Lord and all who read his words.  And in his vulnerability with his weaknesses he is hearing that God’s grace is enough; he is experiencing the power of Christ resting on him; and he is learning that “when I am weak, then I am strong.” 

I am beginning to experience these truths.  I am learning that it’s not what is printed on my business card that opens doors of ministry for me; it’s my life resplendent with all its weaknesses that gives courage to others.  And that’s ok.  I’m content … most days.  I'm understanding the connection. 

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belong to God and not to us.”
II Corinthians 4:7
“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.”
II Corinthians 12:9

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