By Holly Culhane
Now to Him who is able.
This segue into a doxology used by both Paul and Jude caught my attention last week.
In Paul’s letters to the believers in Rome and Ephesus and in Jude’s general letter to believers everywhere, both men conclude their exhortation and encouragement to the church with an important reminder.
Now to Him who is able…
Six words in English. In Greek, literally meaning, “But to he [who (dynamai in Greek) is] able to do beyond all,” i.e., more than all, a popular expression of the very highest active power.
But to Him Who has the power or force (dyna) to accomplish actions of the very highest active power.
Both men are saying, “After all that I’ve said in this letter, all of the responsibilities I’ve shared with you as a member of the body of Christ, there’s a but. In other words, “Before we wrap up our time together, let’s remember what He Who can do anything can do.”
And what is it that He has (present tense) the power or force to do?
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith — to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy…
These men conclude their letters of appeal, counsel, reassurance, and support with the how to accomplish the duties they have described — by accessing the Superpower of the Holy Spirit that is already within them. By calling upon the power of the One Who has the authority to redeem, save, forgive, reconcile, unite, and help us stand firm in our faith.
That is how we, dear fellow under-shepherds, are to do the work to which we are called. When we feel emotionally exhausted or are confident the task is larger than we can accomplish, when we are angry or tired or frustrated with the team or the family or the children or the friends or the small group or the flock or the classroom we’re leading… whether we are shepherding at home, in our communities, within the walls of the church, at school, at work, in government — it is HE who is ABLE to provide the POWER to live into our calling, to shepherd well those the Father finds entrusted to our care.
The same One to Whom Paul and Jude give the glory, the credit — the same One for Whom we serve and sacrifice — the same One without Whom there would be no point, no redemption, no gospel, no forgiveness, no reconciliation, no unification, no reason to stand firm. It is HE WHO IS ABLE. It is HE WHO INHABITS US. It is HE WHO ACCOMPLISHES the work within us that HE STARTED.
Let’s lean into the power with which He has filled us. The power He gave us to shepherd well, to love the lost, the broken, and the ugly at heart — those who smell like sheep.
And may we do it all for His glory and the good of the flock.