How Can We Be Sufficient for Ministry?

2 Corinthians 2:14-17 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. {15} For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. {16} To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? {17} For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.
Here, Paul the apostle states some of the characteristics of real Christianity; it’s optimistic (v. 14), it’s victorious (v. 14), it’s impactful (vs. 15-16), it’s sincere (v. 17), it’s in the sight of God (v. 17). In the middle of this list of characteristics he asks a question which he does not immediately answer: who is sufficient for these things?
The Greek word translated sufficient in the NKJV is the word hikanos, which basically means “competent.” Other synonyms could be ample (in amount) or fit (in as in character):—able, + content, enough, good, great, large, long (while), many, meet, much, security, sore, sufficient, worthy (Strong’s Greek Dictionary).
An English dictionary defines sufficient as being enough to meet the needs of a situation or a proposed end.
Other synonyms include: enough, adequate, competent—having what is necessary or desirable.
But the word competent is probably the closest word … competent suggests measuring up to all requirements. It’s being capable, it’s being able, it’s being up for it, equal to the task.
So our point #1 is that we are not sufficient. Not for Christian ministry, most certainly. And when we think about it, anything we do is contingent upon Divine help … whether it’s breathing or preparing a meal, for example.
From this passage in 2 Corinthians 2, Paul goes on to describe some of the evidence of his apostolic calling, which some of the Corinthians had been questioning. Then he makes sure that we all understand … this sufficiency to do what he was doing did not come from Paul; it came from God.
2 Corinthians 3:5-6 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, {6} who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
In another place, Paul said that it is Christ in us which is our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).
Therefore our point #2 is that Christ is sufficient.
Take a look at your life. Consider the daily load.
The Christian life is nothing more than daily, moment by moment decisions about who is sufficient. We either rely upon ourselves or upon Christ. Each decision produces its own results.
So our point #3 is that Christ’s sufficiency is our sufficiency.
Think of Jesus. Is there anything too difficult for Him? Was there ever a question He could not answer? Was there a sickness He could not cure? A situation over which He was not in total control?
Think of what happened in these men who hung out with Him. Think of what they were able to accomplish, being near Him. Even after He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, His promised presence made them do great things … greater than He Himself had done, cumulatively.
We can be … we will be … sufficient for ministry as we learn to rely upon Jesus for everything we need, and for everything He calls us to do.