August 26, 2008

Strength Is Weakness

1 Corinthians 12:12-26

Those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable …
1 Corinthians 12:22


Chuck Norris, known for macho roles in movies and TV, has become the subject of some jokes like these:

Chuck Norris has counted to infinity. Twice.

Chuck Norris has already been to Mars; that's why there are no signs of life there.

When the boogeyman goes to sleep, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris and other tough-guy actors play a theatrical version of what our society often values: good looks, strength, self-sufficiency, independence. But except for a few people who live off the land by themselves, we all need other people. We need not just the strong, charismatic, gifted, or good-looking; we also need people who the rest of us might consider weak. I know of a young man who has a mental age of about one year, and he is so full of joy when he worships God that he leaps about. His enthusiasm for God infects the entire congregation. His disability sets him free to share his gift of joy with fellow worshipers. A woman with cognitive impairments displays an unshakable faith in God for her future. She does not understand wills and insurance. We tend to rely on these things to reassure us. But she puts all her trust in God. Who are the “weaker” people in your life? What need do you have that they fulfill?

Lord Jesus, forgive us for making an idol of strength. Open our hearts to learn from the people we think are weak. Help us all to see how we need you and one another. Amen.

About the author — Mark Stephenson

Rev. Mark Stephenson is the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Previously he served in two congregations in Michigan. He and his wife have four children.

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