Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 92; 149, Deuteronomy 32:34-41 (42) 43, Romans 15:1-13, Luke 9:1-17
Elementary and middle schools typically provide remedial math and English classes for students who struggle in a traditional classroom. High schools and colleges provide tutoring programs for student-athletes who face academic challenges. The tutors are often fellow students. Has anyone heard of a reciprocal program? Not to artificially divide students into athletic or academic talents, but there is surely at least a subset of the academically gifted who are athletically challenged. Where are the sports and strength tutors returning the favor? There are coaches and trainers, of course, but outside of gym class they spend their time with students already comfortable with athletics.
Paul wrote, “We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor.” He was speaking of the spiritually strong and weak, but deciding to see the “weak” of any kind as people we have an opportunity to serve, rather than to mock, discipline, or leave behind, applies in many ways. Do we make an effort to help build up our neighbor, or do we find reasons to blame them for their weakness?
The division between the strong and the weak permeates our culture. It’s practically inescapable – even our romantic vocabulary includes “conquests.” It affects how we view and treat each other, and not for the better.
Part of the Good News is that Christ frees us from the burden of determining who is strong and who is weak. Instead he teaches us to serve each other no matter what. When he sent the twelve apostles to spread the Gospel, he instructed them to take nothing. This vulnerability put them at the mercy of the towns they visited. Why would he have done this, if not to show the strength that is present in willing vulnerability?
Let us put our strengths to service. Let us see weakness as an opportunity to serve. Let us remember that we are all as God has created us, which is reason enough to build up one another.
Comfort: Your weaknesses are opportunities for God to build you up.
Challenge: Pay attention to instances where movies, television, magazines, etc. artificially or unnecessarily divide between the weak and the strong.
Prayer: Loving God, show me where I may serve. Amen.
Discussion: What “weaknesses” particularly bother you?
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