Beyond Their Power

Many times I have said as I preached about some duty, "When you have done what you can, where you are, with what you have, this is all God expects of you." I may have added on various occasions something like, "What more can you do? One can only do what he has the power to do." Those statements may be basically true, but there is a more tremendous and significant truth in 2 Corinthians 8:3 where Paul says of the churches in Macedonia, "For according to their power, I bear witness, yea and beyond their power, they gave of their own accord."

When I discovered that truth several years ago, although I continued to teach that every one of us should do what we can, where we are, with what we have, I added another greater truth. That is, when you do that, God will enable you to do what you cannot, with what you did not have. You will be able not only to give beyond your power, but do many other things beyond your power.

We could give examples from our own experience and observation that prove this is true, but two illustrations from the Bible will be better. Peter did not have the power to walk on water, but he did (Matthew 14:29). The key to it is simple. When he heard the command of Jesus, he did it. He did what he could, where he was, with what he had, and the Lord then gave him power to do what he could not.

Again, in John 6:9, we have a lad with five barley loaves and two fish. The Apostles thought, as we would have, "What are these among so many?" One boy cannot use his lunch to feed five thousand! He did what he could, where he was, with what he had and Jesus gave him the power to do what he could not, where he was not, with what he did not have.

One can argue, "Those were miracles, and God does not work that way today." It is true that those were miracles, but the eternal principles of God remain true. God continues to do for us what He did to the Macedonians, for the principles are eternally true. For example, you may take a handful of corn. You may selfishly keep that handful for yourself and eat it, and you may prevent hunger pangs for a short period. Suppose you decided to sacrifice it and give it into the care of God so He could use it to feed other persons. Those hundred grains of corn could be put into God's earth and produce at least 1000 other grains. That is just the first year, directly from what you did. It is possible, even probable, that your sacrificial deed would lead 100 or 1000 others to do likewise, in which case the multitudes that would be fed would stagger the imagination. There simply is no limit we can put on what God would be able to do through us, if each one of us would simply do what we could, where we are, with what we have, then try to make a sacrifice a little beyond our ability.

Without asserting that God is working miracles today, I am not afraid nor ashamed to assert that if every Christian would take seriously what we have said, reading 2 Corinthians 9:8-11 in faith, and acting on that faith, there is no work on earth that God wants done that could not be done. We could cover India, Africa or the whole world with the gospel.

T. Pierce Brown

Published in The Old Paths Archive