“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
Those should be familiar words to you. I have often preached and written from this text. In fact, about one year into my service as executive director-treasurer for Oklahoma Baptists, November 2018, I set this great benediction before our messengers and guests during our Annual Meeting. Toward the end of my address I said:
“Where do we begin? We are going to do what Paul assumes we will do—think and ask. We will think about our work, our mission, our field. We will dream about the future and imagine our most essential tasks and most productive strategies. We will thoughtfully order our priorities. We will think and we will ask.
“We will ask because we know that the horse might be prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord. We will ask because we confess that unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. We will ask because we believe that our Father knows how to give good gifts to those who ask.”
I consider it a great honor to have served you. Thank you for entrusting this work to me. As I leave the office of executive director-treasurer of Oklahoma Baptists to prepare for my new Kingdom assignment as president of GuideStone, I want to encourage you one more time: Keep on asking!
Asking provides perspective.
Our cooperative mission is not merely our work for the Lord, but His work for us and in us and through us. Asking reminds us to focus on what the Lord is able to do according to His power that works within us.
John Newton wrote, “Thou art coming to a King, large petitions with thee bring; for His grace and power are such, one can never ask too much!”
He is able to glorify His Name in the church in all generations. “All” includes this present generation. We should always be asking the Lord to work with power to glorify His Name in our churches in this generation. We are not able, but He is.
I concluded that 2018 convention address with these words: “One day, years from now, our grandchildren might learn about a great season of Gospel advance that began in our generation in Oklahoma and spread to impact the world for Christ. If they inquire of us, ‘How did this great Gospel advance come to pass?’ Wouldn’t it put a smile on your face to give them a simple answer? ‘We asked Him, and He is able.’”
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Eph. 3:20-21).