I came upon this statement while researching the Donne chapter for my dissertation.  It’s from a sermon he preached at the Hague in 1619, then later revised.  This suggests that Donne spent some years reflecting on the truth expressed in the quote below.


“Christ needed not mans sufficiency, he took insufficient
men.  Christ excuses no mans insufficiency, he made them sufficient.
His purpose then was that the worke should be ascribed to the
workman, not to the instrument — to himself, not to them.”

(John Donne, 1630)


Donne himself was a onetime libertine, who had been called into the ministry after his conversion.  It was a calling that he was reluctant to accept, and if his poetry is any indication, the shame of past sins seems to have contributed to that reluctance.  Yet Donne became a noted preacher in his day, not merely because of his elegant style of speaking (he was a poet, after all), but also because of the substance of his sermons.  It is clear that he thought deeply about what it means to follow Christ, and what it means that Christ calls fallible, broken people to serve His church.

What has Christ called you to do at present that seems beyond your abilities (sufficiency)?  How has He called you to trust Him to supply that sufficiency?


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Filed under Faith, Literature

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