October 1

October 1
by Gabe Tseng

Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 4:10-11

As I ponder what the Lord has in store for any of us this season, I can only fathom the varying depths of loneliness and isolation that affects us all, prevalent in every season, but accentuated during this season. As I’ve entered into a new church home and family, I realize I have less of myself to give than I had previously thought. My need for rest, fellowship, and a sense of home only brings more awareness to what I lack. I don’t feel strong. I feel incredibly weak. How do I serve a church community with my sense of futility? How do I speak words of comfort when I feel no comfort? How do I serve others when I feel no strength? How do I glorify God in my weakness?

I love Paul’s words to us, “His grace is sufficient for you and His power is perfected in my weakness.” And it reminds me that perhaps the greatest gift I have to give in this season is my great need. While I would feel powerful and great when I can be used powerfully by God, and I can gain a sense of importance through the use of my gifts, it has been when I have been helped by another, when I am most humbled, bearing my own scars, that I find the Lord can speak powerfully to me and through me. Being reminded that I am loved by God, in receiving and not serving, I am reminded that I am NOT all powerful, all knowing, and always loving. The greatest gift I can give others is entering into that weakness and that wholly dependence on God together. That sense of healing and peace comes when we begin to say, “I don’t know all the answers. Let’s walk together and see Him who does. Let’s go together.”

Henry Nouwen puts it poetically. “Who can listen to a story of loneliness and despair without taking the risk of experiencing similar pains in his own heart and even losing his precious peace of mind? In short: Who can take away suffering without entering it?”

I am reminded of how the crowd of 5000 were fed when Jesus super-sized the measly Sardines and Saltines provided by the little boy. What we provide is so measly, but when given joyfully, even if we only have pain in the offering, God honors it and uses it mightily for the benefit of us and of others. What may be most cherished to God is not more burnt offerings, but a broken and contrite heart. This He will not despise. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He sees you right where you are. He knows exactly what you need. It may be in your moment of great need that He chooses to use you most powerfully to serve others and for His glory.

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