“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” 2 Corinthians 11:30
In 1937, Henry Weyeneth Altorfer invented and patented an electric clothes dryer. Prior to this invention, a combination of solar power and wind energy were primarily used to dry clothes. Some still use this ancient method called a clothesline. ☺ The old saying, “Don’t air dirty laundry” comes from the days of the clothesline. A woman would only hang the laundry out to dry, after she was certain that it was clean. Nobody would hang dirty laundry out for all to see. In the same way, we generally try to present our strengths, and conceal our faults, rather than put our “dirty laundry” on display for all to see.
And yet, that is precisely what the Apostle Paul does in the letter of 2 Corinthians. From verses 23-29 of chapter 11, Paul runs through an extensive list of his sufferings and his weaknesses. But why would the apostle Paul, who had been privileged to see glorious revelations (Acts 9:3, 2 Cor. 12:2), list only his weaknesses? Because Paul understood, better than most, that the gospel is the message of God’s grace alone!
Too often we are tempted to believe that we need to have our lives altogether in order to demonstrate the gospel to each other, and to a broken world. But such a presentation highlights our performance, our strength, and our accomplishments! Such a display puts all the focus and all the glory only on ourselves!
The gospel demands that we recognize and acknowledge our weakness and our wretchedness! Our lives were never meant to showcase our performance, but are to be trophies of God’s redeeming grace in Jesus Christ! If He can save wretches like us, no-one is beyond hope! No-one is beyond the reach of the brilliant grace of God in the gospel! Paul understood that it was precisely through his weakness, through his spiritual bankruptcy, through his total depravity, that the gospel and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ would be exhibited in the clearest way possible to all all the world!
May all our boasting, now and ever, only be in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ! May we sing with the hymn-writer:
I will not boast in anything No gifts, no power, no wisdom But I will boast in Jesus Christ His death and resurrection!