Did you pay attention in school during the section on Greek Mythology? Me either, but most everyone is familiar with Hercules who was renowned for his astonishing strength. In one of his epic battles, Hercules wrestled with Antaeus throwing him to the earth repeatedly, only to find Antaeus growing stronger each time. In a twist that only Greek mythology can create, Hercules discovered that the earth was Antaeus’ mother. Each time he was thrown down, he was restored by his mother’s care. The legend says that eventually, Hercules triumphed by holding Antaeus in the air, then crushing him in a bear-hug. Crazy, right?
Believe it or not, there’s a lesson here for us as pastors and leaders on the SCO District. Let’s redeem this story for a good gospel lesson. How often do we have our feet knocked out from under us and find ourselves “down and out.” I’ve been there myself, more than once. Is our best hope, as the old show-tune says to, “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again?” Oh no. There is so much more.
When we have Jesus as our Savior, God is our Father, and the Spirit empowers us. When we feel knocked down, we aren’t in a free fall, we are falling into the Everlasting Arms. The embrace of our Almighty God offers us renewal! Paul the Apostle, said it best:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. -2 Corinthians 4:16-18, NIV
Paul reminds us that as we walk in Christ, we can begin to see our struggles not as purely negative, but as opportunities for growth and maturity.
Take heart, sisters and brothers, you may not feel like you have the strength of Hercules, but you have something much more, the promise of our faithful God.
Go and serve in His strength today.