What anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? (2 Corinthians 11:21–29, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Workers who typically get a poor night’s sleep — estimated to be 7% of the U.S. workforce — report more than double the rate of unplanned absenteeism compared with other workers, resulting in an estimated $44.6 billion in lost productivity each year. Poor sleepers reported 2.29 days of unplanned missed workdays in the past month due to poor health, compared with 0.91 days for all other workers. These estimates are after controlling for factors that can affect both sleep and health-related absenteeism, including all major demographics, general overall health, clinical depression/anxiety, significant daily stress and COVID-19. (Dan Witters and Sangeeta Agrawal, reporting on Casper and Gallup poll, 3/18/22).
I don’t know about you, but apart from my faith in Christ, about the only thing I have in common with the Apostle Paul is that I “have often gone without sleep.” But as far as I can remember, I never missed work as a result. Even though at times I felt as if the static cling in the bed sheets were all that I needed to keep me from getting out of bed. But that’s not the work ethic my mom and dad instilled in me as I was growing up (still working on that at age 66). Many times, when he felt horrible, as he left for work, I would hear my dad say, “I best go in today, I might feel worse some other day.”
But “if I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness…so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 11:30, 12:9-10, NIV 1984). Oh, if we all had the drive and sense of urgency that Paul had. Perhaps we would be talking about the great revival sweeping the globe, rather than sounds of approaching hoof beats that we hear.
My Advice – We don’t need to be strong to be like Paul. We need to be weak. Let’s empty ourselves of us and allow the Holy Spirit to fill us and strengthen us. Now that would be something to boast about!