Ministering from Weakness

Ministering from Weakness July 23, 2012


Dependency is the issue in missions … You Westerners, you know how to minister from strength, but you don’t know how to minister from weakness. So it makes those of us who are weak, we don’t know how to partner with you. 



When Tim was a young boy growing up in the mission field with his parents, Steve Saint was one of his friends.

Have you ever ministered to others from the place of weakness in your own life?

This is the poem Saint reads:

I stood, a mendicant of God, before His royal throne
and begged Him for one priceless gift, which I could call my own.
I took the gift from out His hand, but as I would depart I cried,
‘But Lord, this is a thorn and it has pierced my heart.
This is a strange and hurtful gift which Thou hast given me.’
He said, ‘My child, I give good gifts. I gave My best to thee.’
I took it home. And though at first the cruel thorn hurt sore,
as long years passed I learned at last to love it more and more.
I learned He never gives a thorn without this added grace:
He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil which hides His face.
— Anonymous



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  • Amen.

  • Louise Godbold

    That made me cry. Weakness is all I have to offer. I’m applying for a fundraising job for a Christian ministry and I tell myself that I am the least likely candidate – hardly the victorious Christian, just one who has stepped out in faith so many times only to come crashing down. This poem made me believe that just possibly, these failures and heart aches are the fiercest refining fire and therefore the best that God has to offer.

    • praying that God will lead you to a job where you can best minister out of your weakness, Lou. Praying that he does that with each of us. Keep us posted.

      • Louise Godbold

        I’m going to print out the poem and if I get an interview, will present it to them when they ask for my qualifications. (I’m not kidding!)

  • Is weakness one of those Christian paradoxes, I wonder? Weakness is strength for us in the sense of humility, but there are kinds of weakness that are truly weaknesses, that can harm us and others around us if we give into them. I think about this most often in contexts where Christians are encouraged to share their personal stories with each other. For some, this is a healing process and a chance to connect with others who have had the same experience, to share support. But in some cases, it becomes something negative, in which brokenness is glorified and somehow awards a specialness to the person who has it, encouraging others to become broken so they too can be special. I am still pondering what determines whether sharing weakness becomes healthy or degrading.

    • I think you raise an important issue, Melinda. Does weakness become healthy or degrading depends on how it is received. If it is met with empathy and affirmation, I imagine it is healthy. If it is used as a battering ram, it would be degrading.

    • Louise Godbold

      I don’t think this story or poem were about moral failures. Maybe therein lies the difference?

  • T11publius

    Not exactly friends, Karen, he was a much older MK that told younger MKs of very scary missionary boarding school life. I’m sure that they were all greatly exaggerated, but moved this younger MK to some concern nonetheless. I have more recently been moved by his adult stories in more edifying ways!

  • alishadefreitas

    Hi Karen, I posted this on Facebook and my friend pointed me to this link:

    The poem was written by Martha Snell Nicholson. 🙂