When gifts are not enough – even divine ones.

Walk in Wisdom – July 20, 2007


Mark 9.14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. 15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17 And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18 And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and mthey were not able…” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus utook him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had ventered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

The quandary of the Disciples here is a reasonable
one. Why indeed couldn’t they cast this demon out?
Luke’s chronology shows us this event took place
AFTER they had already been commissioned and
sent out two by two and gave “them power and
authority over all demons and to cure diseases.”
This fit clearly within the scope of that commission.
Yet here they were, powerless, embarrassed and
confused. Jesus’ answer to them is not much more
help is it? “This kind cannot be driven out by
anything but prayer (and some texts add – fasting).

What is the deal?

The lesson is simple, but stunningly profound.
Especially for all who seek to labor in God’s field in
any capacity. And I believe it is this: No matter how
great, how divinely given, how extraordinary our gifts
may be, there will always be situations where our
gifts are not sufficient to the task, and we are driven
back to the throne of grace in humility and

One of the great pitfalls of giftedness, is a growing
reliance upon the gift, above the Giver. And the Father
in His infinite wisdom will always bring us face to face
with the things that exceed our gifts, lest we grow to
trust them, more than Him. How good is our God!

Maybe you are a teacher, preacher, counselor,
musician, evangelist, deacon, etc. Whatever God
has gifted you to do in your service to the Body,
mark it well, you WILL come to the end of those gifts.
You will – by His mercy – be caught up short. It is not
a question of “if”, but when. And in those places, it is
not that you have lost your gift, are not still God’s man
or woman, are somehow shelved or steeped in sin. It
is that the Father is wanting renewed focus upon Himself
both to you, and through you. For that is what is best
both for you, and those you minister to. This is the Father
in grace, making sure you know that all still depends upon
Him. That He is still the source from which all goodness
flows. That what you have, as good and excellent as it
may be, functions only by His grace, and must subsist
upon His resting hand.

Seasons of helplessness, are seasons of intimacy, if
we use them to seek His face, rather than ponder how
we fared in the eyes of those who watched us fail. In
our text, the Disciples were forced to wait until the
Savior came. And that left no question as to the real
source behind this glimpse of the Kingdom. Don’t be
afraid to fall upon your knees and beseech His help.
Its not such a bad thing to let people see our inability,
if it means they get to see Him better.