People are more interested in hearing what God has done for you
than they are in hearing what you have done for God.
Over the last forty years I have heard many speakers from a number of organizations and churches. The messages that have had the greatest impact on my life have been those which focused on what God had done in their lives. Although challenged often by the lives of others as they describe the ministry given to them by the Lord, I can not always identify with them. At times I am intimidated. I have concluded after listening to some speakers that they have gifts that I don’t possess or networks of people I don’t have. If I had wanted to see what they have experienced happen in my life I wouldn’t know where to start.
When a person relates what God has done for them it strikes a familiar cord. We can identify readily with their need, for we have experienced it ourselves. Whether the need was financial, a health issue, a family concern, a troubled relationship, or discouragement, it is something to which we can relate. In sharing a need and describing how God met that need, they are speaking from a position of weakness instead of strength. We cannot all identify with a person’s strength, but we can with their frailties because we are all jars of clay. II Corinthians 4:7 states “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” It is in our common experience as jars of clay that we can identify with others and witness the “all-surpassing power” of God.
Paul recognizes the power that is present in weakness and therefore relates in II Corinthians 12:9-10. “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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
It is in our weakness that a door is opened for God’s grace to be realized. Who among us has not been comforted many times by the Lord’s words to Paul “My grace is sufficient for you?” This may have been simply a special sense of His presence during a time of bewilderment, anxiety or loneliness. At other times the Lord may have directed us to a specific scripture passage that brought comfort in bereavement or clarity in a time of uncertainty. He may have brought encouragement to our lives by sending another person our way to remind us of the Lord’s love and care. We also have had experiences where the Hand of the Lord has moved to change our circumstances in which we found ourselves. The Apostle Paul experienced all of these in his life. He not only relates that God comforted him in all of his troubles but stated the reason why he was comforted in the following passage. (II Corinthians 1:3-4) “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”
Has the Lord comforted you by a special awareness of His presence, a reminder of one of His promises in the scriptures, by the presence of a friend, or his Mighty Hand to alter your circumstances? As God has comforted us in all our troubles, we need to comfort others by relating to them how God has comforted us. They are more interested in hearing about what God has done for us than in hearing about what we have done for God.
In Christ, Richard Spann