Make Us Adequate [Part I]

Posted By on Oct 13, 2014 | 4 comments

polingBut he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  – 2 Corinthians 12:9


What do you think of when you hear the word…adequate?


We often think of things like the minimum necessary, half-baked, second-rate, C-/D+ work, etc.  It’s a common perspective that many hold, and it reminds me of a statement I frequently heard in the military: “It’s good enough for government work.”


Adequate often makes us think of mediocre, but I have found there’s a different kind of adequate for those who follow Christ.


Have you ever heard of Clark Poling? [Pictured above]


He was a minister in the Reformed Church in America and a lieutenant in the United States Army.  He served as a chaplain for U.S. soldiers; and prior to being deployed overseas, he wrote these words in a letter to his father:


“I know I shall have your prayers, but please don’t pray simply that God will keep me safe. War is dangerous business. Pray that God will make me adequate!”


It is an interesting request and word choice…pray that God will make me adequate.


We may think he’s asking for the wrong thing; but if we understand the word and the commands of Christ, it makes complete sense…especially when we know what happened in February of 1943.  Check it out.


When Clark wrote to his father, he was preparing to deploy to the battlefields of World War II.  While aboard the transport ship the Dorchester, Clark became friends with three other chaplains; and the four lieutenants developed great friendship and effective ministry aboard the ship.


However, on February 3, 1943, a German submarine [U-223], spotted the naval convoy in transit and closed on the ships.  Shortly after midnight, it fired a torpedo, which struck the Dorchester; and it quickly started to sink.  Hundreds of soldiers scrambled to get to lifejackets and lifeboats.  Several of the lifeboats had been damaged in the attack, but even with life jackets, the chances of survival were slim to none in the frigid water.


Clark and the other chaplains began to organize frightened soldiers. They distributed lifejackets from a locker; and when the supply ran out…


…Clark and the other chaplains gave their lifejackets away to other soldiers.


Was that being adequate?  


Check back later this week for the rest of the story.


  1. Waiting for “the rest of the story”!! The last several years, I have discovered the less “I can”, the more He does! God seems to still be teaching me Philippians 4:13.

    Post a Reply
  2. Great cliff hanger Shawn! loving the sermons in this series. They seem to get better each week (and they started out Fantastic! It is such practical life info, I’m sharing it with non believer friends and family and using it in my job of training young marketing/sales people too. Keep up the great work!

    Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *