January 25, 2015

A New Competence

2 Corinthians 3:1-6

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant.

—  2 Corinthians 3:6

I like to think I have lots of com­petencies. I used to work for a plumbing supply store, so I know a few things about the building trades. I spend a lot of time with computers, so I know a little about installing programs and watching for viruses.

We often base our worth on our competencies. If we're good at a lot of things, we feel good about ourselves. We avoid things we're not good at.

But when we live as new creatures in Christ, we realize that our worth is not dependent on our competence, but on his victory over sin and death. Paul did not look to commend himself on the basis of what others thought of him, but on the work of Christ that had changed his heart and the hearts of his ­readers.

The truth is, there are plenty of things we are not competent to do. I can't fix a car. I can't sink a basketball jump shot consistently. My limited knowledge of computers won't help me fix yours.

Many people feel the same way about teaching others to follow Christ. We know how inadequate we are to offer hope to suffering people. It's easy to do nothing. But God promises his new creatures competence: we are ministers, not of ourselves, but of Christ. We proclaim his competence, his worth, not ours. What a freeing truth!

Lord Jesus, give us confidence. Help us to face the needs and problems around us with the hope of our Savior’s competence. In your name, Lord Jesus, we pray. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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