What Is The Most Important Lesson You Have Learned? July 17, 2018


As I write these words I am sitting in northern Michigan. It is a beautiful summer day at camp. This morning at breakfast I had an engaging conversation with a young man who is starting out in ministry. Near the end of our time together he asked me a question that seemed very broad. And yet as I reflected on his question only one answer would come to mind.

Q: “What is the most important lesson you have learned in ministry?”

While a hundred great truths could be discussed, there is one that stands out above the rest. It is the answer I gave to my young friend. It is the answer the Holy Spirit gave to me.

A: “My inability and His ability.”

In our youth we have the idea that if we can just learn the “how to” we will be able to make a difference. Many educators cater to this idea of making people able. But the older that I get and the longer I am in the Lord’s work the more I realize that I am not able at all.

Twenty years ago I had lots of answers for everyone. I knew exactly what needed to be done! Now I am getting acquainted with my ignorance.

As a very young man my energy and effort seemed to be without limit! Through sheer determination and work we can get it done. Now I am getting acquainted with my inadequacies.

Education and fresh ideas provide so many resources for young minds and youthful ambitions. Now I am beginning to get acquainted with my insufficiency.

Yes, the greatest lesson I have learned in all of these years is that I am not enough. Not wise enough. Not strong enough. Not good enough. But Jesus is all of that and more.

It is at the end of ourselves that we find the beginning of His resources. Christ is enough. And only He is enough.

This is not just a lesson for ministry – it is a lesson for all of life. This is why my life verse is Galatians 2:20,

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

I am unable. He is able.

A few days ago in a youth meeting I referenced a book that I have recommended to people for years. They Found The Secret by V. Raymond Edman details the experience of a host of God’s people who came to this same truth…”not I, but Christ.” Every person must find this secret for themselves.

The earlier in life you learn this lesson the greater all of life will be. And yet it is the lesson we learn over and over in Christ’s classroom. My inability and His ability.

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  1. Pastor Alan Sinclair on July 17, 2018 at 9:42 AM

    Praise the Lord brother. That was refreshing for me to hear. I am often reminded of John 15:5, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

    Thank you so much for your ministry and your love for young people. You have been a blessing in my life as you ministered to my children at Crown. I am praying for you.

  2. Pastor Delbert Hawley on July 17, 2018 at 11:30 AM

    O my brother, I am 79 years old with 44 years of ministry and what sound advice this article is for both young and old. I once thought that I had all the answers and now I’m not even sure about the questions. It’s not our programs, it’s not our talents, our abilities, but the touch of God that makes the difference. Praise the Lord!!
    Pastor Delbert Hawley

    • Scott Pauley on July 20, 2018 at 7:45 PM

      Thank you for your faithfulness to Christ and His work. God bless you!

  3. NATE POFF on July 17, 2018 at 2:48 PM

    Amen, brother! Christ Jesus is everything. Yours and mine. Thank you for the reminder. We’re going to pick up a copy of that book too. Love you, brother Pauley.

    • Scott Pauley on July 20, 2018 at 7:46 PM

      You’ll love the book. God bless you all!

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