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The Rev. Anthony Robinson The Rev. Anthony Robinson
The Rev. Anthony Robinson is a minister in the United Church of Christ, author of 12 books, and president of Congregational Leadership Northwest in Seattle, WA.

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Congregational Leadership Northwest, Seattle, WA

Tony Robinson: Super-Human Christians

March 16, 2014

"When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, 'Where are we to buy enough bread for these people to eat?' He said this to test him . . . Philip answered him, 'Six months wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.'" - John 6:5-7 

"I can't do this!," protested a young woman about whom I care a great deal. Tears of frustration welling up at the corners of her eyes.  

The "this" in question was a little vague but clearly overwhelming. Something like a hungry crowd thundering in your direction, expecting you to feed them when you've nothing, or next to nothing, left to give.  

"This" could have been the young woman's insistent, into-everything not quite two-year-old. It could have been her job, where she was tasked with managing the unmanageable. Maybe it was being a wife and trying to have something like a "relationship" with her husband when both were stretched to their limits. Likely it was "all of the above," and more besides.  

"I can't do this," she exclaimed. To which a wise mentor (that would not be me!) responded, "No, you can't; you can't do this." Pause. Then, "but God can."  

Is that a glib, an "easy" answer? Or is it profound wisdom? It could be the former, but it strikes me as the latter. Sometimes -- often -- we take too much on ourselves. Sometimes we imagine that what it means to be a good Christian is to do it all -- to perfection -- without breaking a sweat. Christians as super-humans. Then when we find we cannot do it all we get angry with life or with God or those closest to us. In frustration we protest, "I can't do this!"  

At which point God doesn't call us "failures," or "worthless." God says, "Right, so glad you've come to your senses. Let me help. Let me be God for you. You just be human -- that's plenty." 

At least sometimes, Holy One, when we find ourselves at the end of our rope, there's a reason we're there. Grant us grace to let go and let you be God for us. Amen.

From UCC's Still Speaking Devotionals. Visit

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