“PUNCHING BELOW OUR TRUE WEIGHT”
Our annual general Holy Convocation ended last Saturday as have a number of others I know of and I am looking forward to the rest of the holiday. The eagerly awaited London Summer Olympic Games began last Friday, so the greatest show on earth is, as it were, now on the road.
The Prime Minister and others, including the media, are very anxious to show the world that Britain a small Island Nation with a very big past can still “punch above its weight”.
Jamaica an even smaller Caribbean Island, celebrates 50 years of independence on 6th August 2012 and is also said to “punch above its weight”.
The different classes of contestants in boxing matches are distinguished by the weight of the competing boxers – heavyweight, middleweight, lightweight, flyweight etc. The sport is regulated so that only boxers of the same weight fight each other. Someone from a lighter weight wouldn’t be expected to have much chance if ‘punching above his weight’ against a heavier fighter. The term therefore, has come to mean competing against someone who you are no match for and in everyday usage it is used figuratively in situations where someone finds themselves competing outside their usual class.
The Biblical story of David and Goliath is a good example of “punching above one’s weight” in that David on every level was no match for the giant Goliath. When Goliath saw that the young man David was to be his opponent he was filled with disdain and contempt for David and Israel in equal measure. However, it was David that succeeded and in truth it was a one sided contest for Goliath “did not lay a glove” on David, another boxing term, meaning that the fight was over even before the giant was able to strike at David.
The unseen source of David’s might and therefore the reason for his victory over the giant was God. Before the fight started David told everyone on his side and his opponent that his confidence was in God and that in the name of God he would prevail against what appeared to be overwhelming odds.
The church of our Lord Jesus Christ is I believe, “punching below its true weight” in that it is not succeeding in ways it should be.
The church is the brain child of God; it’s the body of Christ; it’s been endued with power from on high. Before Jesus ascended on high he told his followers to wait in the city of Jerusalem until they received the great power from on high that would transform them from the ordinary to the extraordinary and from the weak to the very strong. They obeyed and waited and would after seven days waiting be so empowered by the Holy Spirit that they would transform great swathes of the then known world despite great persecution and death.
History records that the once impenetrable city of Ephesus, home of a number of gods and goddesses, notably, Diana would be transformed into the epicentre of Christianity. Furthermore, Phillip the Evangelist went to Samaria and after preaching there, again despite opposition at all levels: personal, civic and demonic, he prevailed in the name of Jesus Christ for God was with him.
Today, the church in many places is punching below its weight in that it is not making the inroads and succeeding in the way it ought. Why is this important? Because lives depend on the ministry and work of the church for historically the church from its inception has been the final bastion against darkness, despair and evil. Apostle Paul wrote that the ministry of the church can be summed up in three key messages: faith, hope and charity (love).
The church must preach the importance of faith, that is, faith that is derived from the word of God; it must offer hope and finally preach and manifest love.
Why then is the church in many places, especially in the rich west, punching below its weight? I believe the answer is simple. It’s not about not having the power, of course this is the case for some churches, neither is it because the church on the whole is backslidden again, this is not universally the case. The answer I believe is because too many leaders and churches are selfish and think more about their own ministry, church and organisation than the Kingdom of God. For the church to punch at its true weight or even above its weight it must come together not in the spirit of compromise and mediocrity but in the Spirit of Christ and excellence. Togetherness produces economies of scale, mutual help and support, increased capacity and resilience. Through togetherness we can accomplish much more than when we are on our own, our own individual church or organisation. There is geometric increase when we are together, for the church is greater together than the sum of its constituent parts.
When he ascended on high the Lord led captivity, captive and gave gifts unto men for the benefit of all: within the church and the wider society. Each ministry gift and spiritual gift is to be used in harmony and co-dependency with others.
Convocation for me and many I know is over but let us use now go back to our neighbourhoods and make a difference for the gospel we preach is the power of God unto salvation to all. “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel” said our Lord after his resurrection. And again, “behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you”.
Let us take this power and make a difference in the lives of many for the time is at hand.
If you or anyone you know is in need of help: prayer, someone to talk to or write to, then do get in touch by email, telephone or by ordinary letter. My email address at the church is: firstname.lastname@example.org; or 90, Dunstable Road, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 1EH, UK; Tel: 01582 391503.
God save the UK. Our platform is the world and our congregation the people.
The Lord’s servant
Apostle Lloyd Denny