(Click on the title to listen to the sermon podcast)
In this message Pastor Chad spoke about the life and work of Nelson Mandela. In his autobiography, “The Long Walk to Freedom” Mandela wrote, “The Church was as concerned with this world as the next: I saw that virtually all of the achievements of Africans seemed to have come about through the missionary work of the Church.”
But Nelson Mandela’s mission in South Africa seemed like a failure as he spent 23 years in prison. Pastor Chad says in this message that, “so often in the bible and in our world, what appears to be weakness is actually great strength. What appears to be defeat, is actually victory.”
To illustrate this reality, Pastor Chad shared a simple story about a man named Steve who was a patient at the state mental hospital in St. Peter Minnesota. Steve often showed the kind of “ordinary love” that can change the world. To build on the foundation of Christ, is to find wisdom in new and unexpected places.
We know that in many ways Jesus did not measure up to the standards of his age. He was not understood by his enemies or even by those who followed him. He was finally humiliated and nailed to a cross to die as the fool of fools. But death did not have the last word, and on the third day, Jesus was raised from the dead.
Did you hear that? He was not acquitted, not freed from prison, but raised from the dead. And the fool was made wise.
Questions to ponder or discuss:
1. Can you think of a person in your own life who may have appeared outwardly to be weak or even defeated but was an inspiration to you? How did the world see that person? Where did his or her strength come from? What have you learned from this person?
2. Is it possible to find strength even in your own weakness? How does your faith influence the way you think about your own ability to make a difference in the world?
Look for ways during this week to show “ordinary love.” One man changed the world even from behind prison walls. Another changed my world by sharing some pocket change in the basement of a mental hospital. In baptism they were both made children of God. From the cross, Jesus takes what is broken and shows us that ordinary love is the most powerful force on earth.