Dr. RB McFee
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
There’s an old saying assumed to start in the boxing world, but having since migrated into business lexicon, when referencing someone who is taking on someone or a project much bigger than their size or experience, such that it would appear beyond achievable - they are said to be ”punching above their weight.”
As a life axiom – tackling a task that appears bigger or above you, it can be a worthy goal. Although it started in the patois of the pugilist, it has evolved into a form of commendation for the courageous committed to try a worthy challenge in spite of limitations.
Biblically one could apply that notion to David when he faced Goliath. Clearly he was punching above his weight or tackling a challenge that for all appearances was well beyond him.
Except here is where God shines brightest – not through the strongest or most talented but through those who know they aren’t and offer to serve the Lord in humility, all in, in spite of their perceived deficiencies.
Consider Moses – he was not the most gifted orator according to scripture, and yet God utilized him as the one to convey His messages to the Israelites.
God turns the willing into winners because they want to serve Him. And most people who choose to serve the Lord will invariably have to punch above their weight.
Jesus invited Peter to walk on water – no surf board, no life jacket – but Jesus’ protégé was willing to take the risk for a great goal.
Put differently, if the challenge wasn’t daunting, how could God’s Power, His Grace become front and center if it was something we could easily do?
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12
Our Savior looks for people willing to punch above their weight, to tackle that which others might consider too difficult, too complex, too time consuming or too costly in emotion, money, effort.
Consider homelessness in Worcester County, or the growing number of shut ins, or residents of nursing homes, or, well you get the idea. The challenges are Goliath – sized. The scope of the problem is so massive, how can we make a difference?
Simply put, you don’t eat the entire Thanksgiving turkey with one forkful, instead tackling it one bite at a time, and the same is true for tackling big issues.
So who will lead the charge? Will it be the strongest, the healthiest, the wealthiest, the most politically connected member/s of our church? Or will it be someone who trusts the Lord to answer His call and recognizes He will provide the way?
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
In thinking about CCUMC’s homeless outreach – we partnered with Worcester Fellowship – one of our congregants who took the lead was Gaelle M. She stepped up as a David to the Goliath and has overcome challenges to do so, making the team effort all the more amazing.
And if you look at all the volunteers of our homeless outreach – Claudia, Beverly and the others who step up to make the meals, or deliver them - each has a back story, a challenge or set of life’s speed bumps – health, family, you name it – and yet chose to believe God’s promise that He will let you complete the good work He started in you.
That said, I think about a variety of individuals in our church who have had to overcome a variety of challenges – personal and logistic – yet have taken the lead, or committed to stay the course and help make the world a bit better, one bite at a time.
Sometimes it is people who punch above their weight for the greater good that get the most done.
Then there is our church itself, which is to say you and me – our faith community.
The other day I was speaking with Kevin H. who recounted a conversation with some folks at Abby’s House – a shelter for domestic violence survivors. By way of background, our church has been a longstanding partner of Abby’s House, and a few weeks ago put out the call for items very much needed at the shelter.
So when it was time to deliver the food, clothes and supplies our members bought, the folks at Abby’s House were amazed at the quantity. They asked Kevin “how big is your church?,” the implication being that the amount of items brought was pretty impressive.
Kevin told them, and they were blown away.
Let’s put this into perspective – we aren’t a large church. Almost any task we take on by definition we are punching above our weight….think “The Little Engine That Could,” and we do!!!!
Once again, in the Name of Jesus, CCUMC punched above our weight.
Do you know how much we make from the CCUMC Thrift Shop? More importantly do you know how much good is facilitated by the earnings? Kudos to M, N, R, and all the volunteers who give freely of their time, and in a competitive market, punch above their weight.
Look around at all the ministries and moving parts it takes to have a Sunday service, or Bible studies, or nursing home services, or church dinners, or, well you get the idea. And each of these wonderful programs is led by, and supported with volunteers who give selflessly.
Consider this article – our website didn’t just happen but was the result of H and others working together.
Next time you come to CCUMC, look at who is singing, playing an instrument, cooking a meal, leading a class, and give them a shout out of thanks. Many are stretching out of a comfort zone, if not comfortable couch, to share their God given talents.
Can we visit every shut in or provide sermons or services to all nursing home people? No, but we have managed to reach a bunch of folks. And with more people, more ideas, more resources, we can continue to punch above our weight!
Our YABs invite us to join them in working on a beautiful nature trail, walk for suicide prevention, make meals and provide comfort to people in a transitional program, and I’m sure other worthwhile endeavors will soon manifest that we can lend a hand.
There are as many needs as there are people with a heart to tackle them.
What’s your favorite flavor of compassion? The homeless? Working with young people? Tutoring a child who needs a mentor? Visiting a shut in? Working in a thrift store environment? Or????
Now you might we wondering – does it matter what I do with one person who is homeless, or living alone, or coming out of prison hoping to rejoin society, or someone who was abused, or ….
Short answer….any act of kindness makes the world better, and the Lord smile.
“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine you did for Me.”
Longer answer….and one of my favorite stories
Once upon a time a violent storm left hundreds of star fish stranded high up on the beach. The weather now mild again, the waves could not reach the star fish, and in the hot sun, they all would likely perish. Walking along the beach were a boy and his grandfather. The boy pondered the scene in front of him, walked over to one of the star fish and tossed it with all his might far out into the water.
The grandfather looking around at all the starfish that remained, queried his grandson “what difference did that make?”
The boy replied to his grandfather with this simple, but instructive answer “it mattered to that one.”
No act of kindness is wasted. It may or may not change the recipient, but it can transform our spirit.
We tackle that which fills a need in our midst, something that addresses Jesus’ instructions for, His invitation to us in Matthew 25:40 – to help the least among us. For some folks it is volunteering in a children’s hospital or hospice or nursing home, for others it is driving people to the doctor, or making meals, or raising money for a charity, or….
Your flavor, your choice, but all making at least one person’s life better, and making God smile.
So go and try to punch above your weight. God is in your corner, and you won’t need smelling salts to get back into the ring. He has you, and His Grace is sufficient.
And to our CCUMC Family – God continue to bless our congregation for all the punching above our weight…past, present, and future.