Something over nothing?

My friend, may I ask you a question? If you take simple words and connect them with the Holy Spirit what makes them powerful. Is the power in the preacher or in the equipment?

My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner.

I own an old table saw. Since my remodeling days are mostly behind me now, the saw sits neglected in pieces around my workshop. As room is a premium, a big saw like that with leaves and a stand had become a clutter mostly, and years ago I had removed the base and stored this in the wood shed, the guards and guides and piled these elsewhere, the belt and motor stored in a box, leaving the saw itself sitting on the end of my workbench. The saw had become mostly useless, something I had to work around. I could have reassembled it, but it seemed that even in one piece, all parts in place and cleaned up, it would still occupy valuable space and barely be used. As I cleaned out the garage this past weekend my wife suggested that I build a rolling cradle for the saw, making it useful and portable again. At first I balked at the work on something so useless, but grudgingly complied. Once the saw was reassembled on the new cradle, however, and I could push it wherever room existed, I was amazed how powerfully I was moved to both reassemble it and use it. Just a couple of old 2x4s, screws, nuts and bolts was all it took to take useless and make it useful. A tool I had ignored for years became a tool I was now anxious to use due to a simple, one-hour fix.

I had looked at this saw for years and neglected it, believing that someday I would give it away or, perhaps, even junk it. It took up space and was nothing more than an eyesore, a constant reminder of what could have been if only something had been done years ago. Holly’s off-the-cuff suggestion was powerful though. That simple rolling cradle brought all the pieces back together again. When I read 1 Corinthians 2:4 I am reminded of this as well. The apostle writes. “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power . . .” (1 Corinthians 2:4) Paul delivered the doctrine of the gospel freely, plainly, and boldly, not resting upon the force of his rhetoric and persuasive words, nor yet upon the natural force of his reasoning and argumentation; but leaving the demonstration and evidencing of the truth of what he said to the powerful internal impression and persuasion of the holy and blessed Spirit of God, who works powerfully.

Paul lived in a time when the philosophical words and phrases of Greek philosophers turned hearts. Perhaps Paul discovered the emptiness of these when he found himself matching philosophic words with the Greeks in Athens to no avail. Paul knew that the gospel became useful not merely in word, but also in power, that of the Holy Spirit of God. The plain facts, so repellent to the natural intellect, were driven home with matchless force by spiritual conviction. One pagan critic, Longinus, wrote about Paul’s method in his treatise on ‘The Sublime and Beautiful,’ calling him “a master of unproved dogma,” meaning apparently that his force lay in the irresistible statement of the facts which he came to preach. But, like that old saw, Paul knew better. Take simple words and connect them with the Holy Spirit and they cut well. The power of preaching isn’t in the the equipment, but in being equipped. In that sense the Holy Spirit is the cradle that rolls out our thoughts, giving them unity and usefulness by his presence alone.

We pray. Heavenly Father, we thank you for your gift of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, however, we becomes so fixed on our words about Jesus that we forget that there is no utility in these unless the words are connected by grace to the Holy Spirit of God. Forgive us Lord when we prattle on thinking we are doing something, when all we are doing is nothing, not really something. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!

Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.

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God bless you for Jesus sake.

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