Nothingness really is a word. It is; I looked it up. It’s not one of these made-up words that college basketball commentators like to throw around during televised tournament games. I’m not sure of anyone’s “sizeability.” I don’t think any player has “longness.” And I’m certain that one cannot describe a coach’s “toughicity” or a power forward’s “reachness.” Give me Verne Lundquist any day. Every day. When words fail, I’ll take his “My gracious!” and “Merciful heavens!” over the made up stuff all the time. By the way, that Kansas pick isn’t looking so crazy now, is it?
Nothingness really is a word.
“I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself.” ~John 5:19
Jesus said that. Really. Jesus says without the Father, he is nothing. He can say nothing. He can do nothing. Jesus claims that he resides and operates in nothingness without God.
But, wait a second! He’s Jesus! This is the Son of God!
Yes, that’s true. But without the Father, he can do nothing.
See, Jesus understood that our God does his very best work in nothingness. Through nothingness, our God does eternally spectacular stuff. Our Father is very consistent on that. Scriptures present this truth very consistently. With God, the winners are exposed as losers and the losers are revealed to be winners. David and Goliath. Gideon. Jericho. The prodigal son and his older brother. The ones who are nothing are everything; the ones who seemingly have it all are actually defeated. Our God is a God of tremendous surprises.
“I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself.”
Christian ministry is conducted in the middle of these great surprises. We work as disciples in the midst of these amazing shocks. We’re standing around in the middle of nothing in particular, doing nothing important, seeing nothing impressive, feeling nothing exciting, when suddenly God sees and does something huge! Right in the middle of all that nothingness, our Father will create something truly substantial and eternal. Something massive!
I sometimes — actually, I should use the word “often” here — slip into a mood of thinking I can do all kinds of wonderful things. I can preach this and I can plan that and I can promote and encourage and teach and lead and write. I can be productive. I can be valuable. I can be important. I can do really good things.
Jesus says he can do nothing without the Father. Me, too. I can do nothing without our God. Nothing. All good gifts come from him in love, all good things I might possibly do are manifestations of his matchless grace and nothing else. I am nothing. My work is nothingness. My potential is nothingness. My abilities and talents are nothing.
And, praise God, that’s where he works. God works in nothingness. Where there is nothing, our Father does something, something big and everlasting. Where I see nothing, our God sees something, something important and eternal.
Jesus told Paul, “My power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul reminded that when we are weak, because of our Father, we are strong.
God is working right now in your nothingness. Lord, please work right now in our nothingness.