I just finished reading Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God by David McCasland. It is a biography of Oswald Chambers (greetings from Captain Obvious). It’s an amazing story and I have a whole new respect for the little devotional My Utmost for His Highest that I dust off every few years. In reading this, I came across a quote of Oswald Chambers, “You see, I believe that Jesus Christ our Lord has all power in heaven and on earth; do you? I find most people believe that He has all the power in heaven, but are not sure about earth.”
This quote just stirred something with in me. And lead me to search the scriptures that support this statement. Where does it say that Jesus has all the power in heaven and earth? I mean, I knew it was in there, but I wanted to read it for myself straight from the source. I found myself reading in Ephesians, I’ve been spending a lot of time there lately, and I came to Ephesians 1:19-23. I love the way it is worded in The Message
Oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him – endless energy, boundless strength! All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.
Then, I was preparing to share in our Sunday morning English-speaking service. Now, when God and I agreed on this Dominican thing, I clearly remember one of my stipulations regarding sharing messages on Sunday mornings, or more specifically, not sharing messages. What had planted the seed about being a missionary was the combination of administrative and social work needs that is a great match with my skills and education. Preaching wasn’t supposed to be on the table; however, the needs of the English church are such that Melisa and I each share on the occasional Sunday morning. So, as last Sunday was approaching the Chambers’ quote and Ephesians 1 were on my mind. To top it off, God threw in a few issues the week before speaking that I thought I would try handling myself, but quickly realized were outside of my abilities to handle, but they I had to turn them over to him.
Also last week, I attempted to set up the mission phone and electric bills to be paid on line. Which, for you North Americans, it probably sounds like it should be an easy process. You probably thought, “You have to do something to set up on-line bill payment?” Well, actually, it requires coordination of our local bank and the electric company. Then it requires the coordination of the local bank with the phone company. Needless, to say it hasn’t happened. The Electric company seemed like the easies, so I set up an online account, listed the bank accounts, and now, over a week later, I’m waiting for the pending confirmation, a process that should take 24-48 hours, according to the information online. Well, I decided to call the bank, to check on the confirmation, because they have to confirm that I have entered the correct information. The bank told me I had to talk to the electric company, and when I called the electric company I was told I had to talk to the bank. All, I wanted was some good ol’ customer service. I just wanted to talk to someone who had the ability and the authority to make the changes that.
So, I shared these thoughts and experiences with our Sunday morning church. And I asked a few questions:
Are there areas in your life, or problems you face that you are trying to control with your limited power?
What limits does God have on what he has the power to change?
Okay, so this one was a rhetorical question. There is no limit to what God can change.
What limits do we place on what God hast the ability, power, and authority to change?
Through this message, I feel that the primary way we limit God’s power to change things is by trying to do it ourselves, using our limited power and ability, instead of Christ’s unlimited authority, power, and ability. I know that I often get a, “I can handle this myself” mentality. Most of the time, it is not a conscious thought. I don’t think. I have two choices here, I can do it within my own, feeble limited strength and authority, or I can allow Christ in his full authority and power to handle it, and so I pick “me.”
Normally it is based on habit, my first instinct tends to be on what I can do, and it isn’t until my efforts fail, that I think, “Oh, wait a minute, I have this other option, Christ is in charge of everything, why don’t I see if he can take a swing at it.”
I’m trying to switch that around so that I first turn to God, without trying it on my own first and then waiting until I mess it all up before I give it over to him.
Those were my thoughts, from the experience in customer service of just wanting to talk to someone that had the power and authority to change things, to realizing how often I forget I have direct access to the most powerful, the one with the highest authority. Oh, and if you need one more scripture Matthew 28:18, Christ says it himself, “All authority in heaven and on earth have been given to me.” So, why not face this coming week seeking the one at the top of it all?