I’ve been on a pretty hot streak lately. My assistant nursery coordinator job is going pretty well, and my teaching aide job is going pretty well, and people have been telling me that they enjoyed my devotional thought at bible study on Tuesday morning. I was beginning to think that maybe I was a pretty big deal.
And then Thursday morning I was doing nursery for a new program and it didn’t go so hot. It wasn’t any sort of colossal fail, but I wasn’t prepared and I made two real newbie mistakes and my boss had to come bail me out. Keep in mind, this is nursery ministry. By “bailing me out” what she actually did was sat in a rocking chair and rocked a fussy 4 month old to sleep on her chest. It wasn’t the Hindenberg or anything, but it was humbling to have to need her, and a good reminder that I’m fallible, fallen and in constant need of reliance on God’s grace.
All of this got me thinking about one of Jonathan’s professors last year talking about Philippians 4:13, and placing this often misquoted verse within its context of the two verses which come before it.
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Dr. Agan pointed out to the class that “all things” gets defined in a specific way in our culture. He used some examples specific to seminary graduates (preaching boldly to multitudes was one) but I think we all have this application in our minds of some sort of grandeur that comes through him who strengthens me. We limit the definition of “all things” to mean “win”; but that isn’t the context of the verse and Dr. Agan pointed that out. Sure, you can preach to the multitudes, or you can stand up to speak and trip over your shoelace and fall flat on your face in front of the multitudes (Dr. Agan’s example). You can do both things because it is Christ who gives you strength.
So the Lord gave me the words for a devotional on Tuesday morning and the skills with which to deliver those words. And the Lord gave me the humility to be able to say on Thursday morning, “Yes Shannon. That’s on me. It won’t happen again. Thanks for your help.” So if I think I’m a big deal, or I think I’m a big fail, I’m completely missing the point. It’s not about me, it’s about Him who strengthens me.