29 January 2008

A Mental Splinter

OK, so it's been a while. I know, I know.

So, lets begin this off with some fun. Maybe it won't be fun, maybe it will.

A friend of mine has a blog, one of the better ones I have read. One recurrent theme of his is the need for more love above all else. Somehow, I have also spent a lot of time mulling over this. It has been a mental splinter for me. You know, one of those ideas that get in your brain and no matter what you do, you just keep thinking about it. There has been a lot of rhetoric and discussion, most of it doesn't really result in anything to be honest. Which is why when this past week, this splinter was implanted, it seemed more than just poignant.

Dunno why, but I started thinking about 1 Cor. 13. You know, the famous "love" chapter. But rather than jump past the first three verses... somehow my brain got stuck on the first three. I guess you could call it meditation, except for the fact that I was sanding some maple at the time while the drone of the dust collection system and a table saw made listening to the radio next to impossible. Somehow in the midst of all that, I had one clear and cohesive thought.

I know the main content of the first three verses reasonable well. The apostle Paul lists off a number of gifts, and explains that if we do these things without love, it means nothing, it produces nothing, it accomplishes nothing. But then came the brainfart: compare that to the main point of Matt. 7:22-23. Using your gifts, even performing miracles... but where does it get you? OK, here we are, that big idea I had: without love we are useless.

U s e l e s s.

Not worthless, scripture makes it very clear that we are never in a state of being worthless. That is one of the most effective lies that the enemy has ever told. Even in our sinful state before salvation, we are worth so much that God sent His Son. Sin has never changed our worth in the eyes of God. It never can change that.

But what can change is whether or not we are useful to God. And amazingly, according to 1 Cor 13:1-3, being saved and actively using our gifts does not constitute usefulness. Did you catch that? Performing miracles, knowing and using our gifts, being active in ministry, all of that does not mean that you are useful.

This one thought floored me, and I can't stop thinking about it.

What really makes us useful?

Do we really care?