“…God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are.” 1 Corinthians 1:28

During the summer of 2014, I joined a team sent by EFCC to partner with a Christian school in India that serves the lowest of the caste system, the Dalits. While there, we spent several days helping to build a large playground structure for the children. Those two weeks changed the way I understood the inside-out, upside-down nature of the Kingdom of God. Joining us in building the play structure was a small group of Dalit men and women. Though we could not communicate with words, we smiled to show our gratitude for their partnership in the project.

Once the structure was complete, we gestured that we’d like to take a picture with them to celebrate the completion of such a meaningful project. The translators helped us communicate our desire to include them, but they were baffled. Though we eventually got them to join in the picture, these beautiful Dalit people had been taught that their lives were unworthy of notice by the entire world around them. They were poor, uneducated, and treated as less than human. This moment was a perfect reminder that as Christians, though we might not all suffer as the Dalits and other oppressed peoples do, the hope of the gospel, our greatest treasure, is seen as nothing— worth nothing. It is of no value to those infatuated with the wisdom, strength, and power of this world.

A simple photo reminded me that Paul’s words still ring true for Christ-followers in the world today. More and more often, the message of the cross is mocked and devalued.  Our culture seems to shut us down, telling us that what we have to offer is foolishness. It is a weakness. It is powerless. Just as in Corinth, the world still elevates status, wealth, and power. But for those whose lives have been transformed by the radical love of our infinite God, we know that he accomplishes his most extraordinary kingdom work through our simple, ordinary lives laid down for him. God’s plan has not changed since Paul wrote his letter to the church in Corinth.

Thankfully, we are not called to greatness but to faithfulness.

May we be a church that “owns” this reality rather than fight against it. May we embrace our calling, confidently offering our lives to be used by God for the sake of others. May we walk in the ways of Jesus, with the heart of Jesus, inviting others to find their place in God’s family picture.

Nicole Jiles
Director of Children’s Ministry

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