Indispensable - SPOTLIGHT
About the Spotlight Writer
I’m Allie – a lover of words, Jesus, people and the color pink. When I don't have my nose stuck in a book, you can find me with pen in hand, whether writing history papers for my master’s degree or telling stories – I'm a big believer in the value of both. God’s been teaching me the past few years that writing is a way for me to learn truth about what it’s like to be ever falling in love with my life and my Lord. I’m all about finding grace for the past, freedom for the present, and hope for the future in Christ, and it’s something I love to share – that process is so much sweeter when we do it together!
“On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable . . .”
— 1 Corinthians 12:22 (ESV)
In my small group a few weeks ago, we were studying the second half of 1 Corinthians 12, talking about spiritual gifts. “What do you think the Corinthians hearing this message felt when they heard that line?" my leader asked when we got to verse 22. “Especially if they felt like their gifts seemed weaker compared to those of others in the body."
The word leapt into my mind and lingered there. Think about the culture the early church lived in - the kind we still live in today - one full of hierarchy, class and status based on strength and success. In that sort of world, what kind of leader wants the weak instead of the strong? This surely must have occurred to some of the Corinthians listening.
Except I also think my answer says very little about the Corinthians, and much more about me.
Disbelief is a path I’ve often walked down. It isn’t intentional – I just wake up some days and realized that I’d been living like the love of those closest to me is conditional, dependent solely on me meeting their expectations, even when they had assured me it wasn’t and they had none. Or that I’d been living like God hasn’t made me holy, adopted me as one of His own; like I still had to work for it, do more and be more to be loved by the One who made me in His own image. They’re things I would never say out loud, but they’re evident in every action and word, twisting my thoughts, manipulating my mindset until I can’t see truth clearly.
Disbelief, whether we know how to call it what it is or not, can become a habit we don’t even recognize. So when it came to my mind in small group, it seemed like a pretty standard reaction to hearing that what the world around us considers weak - what we consider weak - is not only valuable, but necessary. Indispensable. That's some mixed-up kind of logic right there.
I'm learning lately that the kingdom of God specializes in what we would call mixed-up logic.
Disbelief stems from the expectations and allegations of the world. I believe my friends care about me, I just don’t believe I do enough to deserve it some days. I believe the gospel is true with everything I have, I just don’t believe I am enough to deserve it some days.
The kingdom of God turns those lies on their head. Believing that because I don’t deserve authentic friendship on the days I mess up, I must not deserve it at all defeats the entire purpose of friendship. Believing that I don’t deserve God’s love, salvation, and plan for me because I mess up all the dang time defeats the entire point of the gospel.
We can never do enough or be enough to deserve what Christ did on the cross – so He calls us to give up trying. The most beautiful thing about following Jesus to me is that “enough” or “better” aren’t part of His language. Scripture tells us to love God and love others, and to do it with the gifts He’s given us – to stop trying to be enough and learn to just be who we are. After all, He made us that way. He loves us that way.
That love – a precious mixed-up logic kind of love – makes space in a world full of doubt and disbelief for us to step out in faith with just what we have. Always looking for what He has next, but always knowing He has already given us what we need. That’s why the Corinthians could believe that even when they felt weak in their gifts or their calling, they were indispensable. And that’s why we can, too.