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Ephesians 3:7-12, Paul’s Ministry

Strengthening Your Strengths

A generation ago, when people in the workplace received their annual reviews, there was a strong emphasis on fixing the things they weren't doing well. Sure, they might do this or that just fine, but the bulk of the meeting would be about the things they didn't do right. This practice was a deficit-based approach, focusing primarily on weaknesses.

Currently, there is a trend toward focusing on strengths, not weaknesses. There will always be things we are not good at. If we pour all our energy into our weaknesses, we live in a space of deficit. We will never be good enough because we are only focusing on those things we will never be good at. But if we acknowledge our weaknesses, but focus on our strengths, we can hire, barter, or delegate the things we are not good at to people who are. Then we can focus our energies on our strengths, becoming good, better, even best at what we're already good at. We can become rock stars of our own strengths. This strength-based approach is catching fire because it motivates far better than a deficit-based approach ever did.

Paul didn't waste his energy trying to be someone he was not. He was bold, brash, adventurous, loud, and gifted in persuasion. He used his gifts to spread the gospel, and his words spread over time and space. He used his gifts unapologetically. What might we do if we all focused our energies on strengthening our strengths for the sake of the gospel?!

Narrative Lectionary Text: Ephesians 3:7-12

Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of his power. Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.