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Usefulness and Idolatry

The Lord has blessed me with sound health for most of my life, but in the past couple of years I’ve begun to have some health problems. 

These issues have revealed to me just how much I’ve idolized “usefulness.”

Health Problems

When my once sharp memory began to suffer I realized just how much I had taken it for granted. Names began to fade. For the past couple years I’ve learned a 100 new names in a week’s time. But… then I began to forget names, names I knew. I remember running into someone at Walmart. After exchanging greetings, I racked my brain for a fragment of understanding. Who was this familiar face? I knew that I knew him, but could not, for the life of me, remember his name or even where I knew him from. This began to happen frequently. 

I nearly fainted twice after riding my bike. Physical activity and exercise became nearly impossible. I had to catch my breath and slow my heart rate after climbing one flight of stairs.

I woke up every morning nauseous and feeling faint. My appetite was nearly non-existent. When I did eat, it was only because I was forcing myself to eat.

And I was tired. So tired. All the time. 

When I’m tired I can’t think straight and I can’t speak properly. Communicating with others becomes nearly impossible.

A few months ago, in March, my health was the worst it’s ever been. I spent about two weeks confined to bed. All the sudden I could do nothing. As I lay in my bed day-after-day unsure whether this sickness would end, I realized that I have found my value and worth in what I can do. If I can accomplish a lot I feel valuable. If I can’t do anything (other than sleep)… I feel worthless and useless. I feel like a failure.

The Lord began to teach me that I can not find my worth in what I do. For my worth is found in what He has done. And that doesn’t change, for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

The Secular Worldview & Usefulness

If I find my value in my usefulness I am adopting the worldview of the secular culture. A worldview which says that babies can be killed based upon their usefulness and precious souls murdered when they are no longer “useful.”

If I believe that my worth is found in my usefulness I am believing the same lie that leads to these sinful actions. However, if I truly believe the Word of God I cannot believe that any human being’s worth is based in how “useful” they are. Each one is a soul crafted in the image of God, precious in His sight.

The Weak Things

Thankfully, my health has begun to return! I learned 80 new names in the past 5 days (the quickest yet!). However, some issues remain… I often get frustrated with my self for tiring so easily. I only wish I could do more. Why has Jesus chosen me for this task when I am so weak? 

But then I remember– He delights in using weak things (just like me!).

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:25-31 ESV)

May Jesus be glorified and, like Paul, may I boast in my weaknesses, for when I am weak then He is strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)