Monday, December 28, 2015

2 Corinthians 8:3-5 -- On Being Willing to Step Beyond Our Power

"For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;
Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God."
2 Corinthians 8:3-5

Some great ideas here.  In the first verse, I like how some of the early church members were willing "beyond their power."  That's a big step to take, and I think that we often stop before that point because we're scared.  We're scared of not being in control, of going beyond our own power and relying on God that much.  It's a big, scary commitment to be willing to commit beyond your own power... and without God, of course, a really bad idea.  We can overwhelm ourselves and wear ourselves out if we don't learn to manage our own commitments and to say no to things that we can't do... like double booking ourselves to run two events at once, or take so many credits in college that we can't keep up with the homework.  But *with* God, what we can't do alone, we CAN do, according to the will of God.  That's how we grow beyond our own abilities: because God is there, sustaining us.  I think Bishops and Relief Society presidents, and so many things that we do specifically for God, are often possible only because we have God's help.  Not to mention Prophets, Apostles, or Missionaries.  I think callings that place us full time in the service of God allow us to feel that sustaining hand and that spiritual guidance even more.
Of course, I think that church and life aren't really as separated as we feel they are most of the time, and we can have that same spiritual guidance and sustaining hand in our non-church callings as well:  in our employment, in our schooling, in our family responsibilities.  I think it is sometimes harder though, because it is harder to know what God wants when it isn't spelled out as clearly... but God still is there to help and guide us at all times in our lives, if we are willing to step beyond our power and allow God to sustain us in doing his will.  One important part of that is in the last verse of the selection.  We can give or dedicate ourselves to different people, goals, pursuits... but only "by the will of God," if we want to be able to work beyond our power.  God has to come first as a priority, and all other goals and priorities have to be secondary to him.
Today, let's be willing to step beyond ourselves and work closely with the Lord in all our pursuits.  Let's make him our top priority, and know that if we do so, and keep his commandments, we'll have more power in our lives, more direction, and be operating at a level that we never could alone.

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