1 Timothy 1:12-17
Gratitude for Mercy
12 I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost. 16 But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.[a]Amen.
I love singing “Jesus Loves Me” with young children. They do the hand motions. They either point to the sky for “Jesus” or point to imaginary nail scars in their hands. For “love” they cross their hands and arms across their hearts and chests. And, when they sing “me” whoever is listening knows exactly who Jesus loves. My favorite part is when they sing “they are weak, but he is strong.” On the word “weak,” they slump down like they have no energy or backbone. But watch them sing about how strong Jesus is – they become like 400-pound weight lifters holding out their arms.
As disciples of Jesus, there are times when we need physical strength. We look to him for the ability to fight a medical condition; for the stamina to finish all the tasks we need to do; for arms and hands to carry children and transport elders and bring in the grocery bags. We pray to Jesus for strength of another kind also. We ask for strength to keep quiet when words could possibly be hurtful and don’t need to be said. We seek strength to look to the needs of others before our own needs. We need strength to admit we are wrong and say we are sorry.
We are often, indeed, so very weak. But, as today’s passage reminds us, Jesus does strengthen us. Think about a time you were asked to do something, maybe for a church activity. Or, remember that time Jesus put it in your head to have a conversation you knew would be difficult with someone. Maybe you were hesitant. But, you ended up jumping in to the activity, or having the conversation that turned out better than you expected. Jesus had given you strength. The next time you find yourself being led to do or say something but you hold back, ask Jesus for the strength to do what you can to serve his people. He will show you what to do or say. He will give you strength.
Lord Jesus, we are so often weak, but you are always strong. Be our strength in all the areas of our lives, that we may have what it takes to follow you and serve your people. Amen.