22 June 2019
2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Must I go on boasting, though there is nothing to be gained by it? But I will move on to the visions and revelations I have had from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who, fourteen years ago, was caught up – whether still in the body or out of the body, I do not know; God knows – right into the third heaven. I do know, however, that this same person – whether in the body or out of the body, I do not know; God knows – was caught up into paradise and heard things which must not and cannot be put into human language. I will boast about a man like that, but not about anything of my own except my weaknesses. If I should decide to boast, I should not be made to look foolish, because I should only be speaking the truth; but I am not going to, in case anyone should begin to think I am better than he can actually see and hear me to be.
In view of the extraordinary nature of these revelations, to stop me from getting too proud I was given a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan to beat me and stop me from getting too proud! About this thing, I have pleaded with the Lord three times for it to leave me, but he has said, ‘My grace is enough for you: my power is at its best in weakness.’ So I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me, and that is why I am quite content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.
‘That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it. Surely life means more than food, and the body more than clothing! Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they are? Can any of you, for all his worrying, add one single cubit to his span of life? And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these. Now if that is how God clothes the grass in the field which is there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you men of little faith? So do not worry; do not say, “What are we to eat? What are we to drink? How are we to be clothed?” It is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’
Each day has enough trouble of its own.
In the study of Economics, there is an assumption made that consumers and producers have perfect knowledge. This means that everybody knows the price of a good way in advance in the future and that there can be no secret production methods as everybody will know what it is the moment it is discovered. Unfortunately, I think sometimes we behave in this way – with the desire to have knowledge of all the things in our life.
There is this desire for everyone to be in control of everything – the ability to plan out one’s life according to a plan which is suitable to his wants or desires. This gives the person a sense of autonomy where there can be nobody available to ruin the plan. The readings of today remind us that this is not what we are called to do in our prayer life – we are supposed to trust that God has a plan for us.
Some may then ask – how do we strike a balance between submitting to God’s plan and being in control of our own destiny? This is something that we need to take it to the Lord in prayer. In our prayer, we need to ask God to let us exercise the gift of Prudence well in our daily lives. The situations in our lives are different but the Christian values we apply to them are all the same. These values do not change over time but instead are timeless for they were given by Christ.
We need to accept that the the desire to have perfect knowledge is a desire which we should give up as Christians. It is hard to surrender our will to God as we fear that we are asked to give up the treasured gifts and material possessions we own. However, sometimes God requires us to surrender the little we have so that He can bless us with his abundant gifts. Are we prepared to accept that path?
(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Dear Holy Spirit, melt the hardness and coldness in our hearts.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all the people who have given up all they have for the Lord.