Kevin Fast holds several Guinness World Records. One record is pulling three firetrucks weighing in at 109 tons across 100 feet in just 34 seconds. Another is pulling 15 cars at once. He made the record for the heaviest plane pulled.
Kevin is immensely strong. In his normal job, he doesn’t talk much about his feats of strength. However, in powerlifting circles, people will come to him for advice. Why Kevin? Kevin is a Lutheran pastor.
Kevin is strong. We admire the strong. Every four years people watch the strongest athletes in their field compete at the Olympics. Generally, every year there are professional athletes who compete for the Lombardi trophy (American Football), Lord Stanley’s Cup (Ice Hockey), the Commissioner’s Trophy (Baseball). We watch their feats with amazement and enjoy watching people at the peak of their field compete.
If, however, we were asked to watch the weakest people on earth compete, would we bother? Sadly, the only ones who would are often those who seek to mock others. If, on the other hand, we watch the weak improve themselves (whether it’s the Biggest Loser or The Worst Cook in America), we can celebrate their victories with them.
Paul chose to be weak. We often skip over that one on the list. We like “all things” or “under the law” or “without the law”. We don’t like weak.
The weakness Paul speaks of is not physical weakness (granted, in comparison with Kevin Fast, all of us are weak). Paul is referring less about physical weakness more about those whose faith or trust in God is weak.
We often look at others and see their strength, comparing ourselves to them. That isn’t particularly healthy. Paul took the self-less route and chose to appear to be like the weak. He suppressed his strengths so that the weak could be encouraged and not depressed.
Being weak is not a strength, so the thinking goes. Yet, through weakness, Jesus is glorified. Through weakness, more people are brought into fellowship with God. Through weakness, none of us are alone.
We all are weak in something, without exception. Others balance out our weaknesses. With one another in companionship, we are forever stronger than when we are alone, no matter how strong we think we are when we stand in solitude.
1) What is your weakest skill? Where are you weak spiritually?
2) What is your response when someone says to you, “you’re weak”?
3) How does recognizing and embracing your weaknesses help to expand God’s kingdom?
Holy Spirit, guide our hearts to be grace-filled towards those we perceive as weak, and may they be grace-filled toward us in our weakness. Amen.