Researcher Spence Silver was curious about what would happen when he mixed together a new concoction. Silver worked for the 3M company and was fiddling with a new type of adhesive. What he discovered was an adhesive that would apply to a piece of paper and then give that piece of paper the ability to stick and restick on different things without leaving a residue. At first 3M saw this adhesive as useless and set it aside. One day, one of 3M’s chemists, Authur Fry, began having problems keeping his songbook pages marked as he directed his choir. He would mark the pages with loose pieces of paper, but those would often fall out, making him lose his place and frantic to recover. Fry then remembered Silver’s sticky concoction and used it to stick little pieces of paper in his songbook to mark his place. It wasn’t long before these handy “sticky notes” were requested all over the country and have become a fixture in nearly every home and office ever since.
It’s strange to think that something so helpful was once just a useless research project. People often brush things aside and label them “useless” when it simply isn’t true. Too often this is applied to people. Sometimes people label others as “useless,” and sometimes people label themselves this way. Neither are true.
This must have been exactly how the church in Corinth was feeling. Notice what Paul tells them, “For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?…And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; or again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary” (1 Corinthians 12:14-17, 21-22).
Maybe someone has communicated to you that you are not useful. Or maybe you have tried to find a place to be helpful and failed, leaving yourself feeling useless. At one time people didn’t think “sticky notes” had a useful place either. Let’s take the words we just read from Paul and realize that we are all VERY useful in God’s eyes. Throughout Scripture God worked through weak, flawed, and feeble people (Moses, Gideon, etc). The key is to never give up. There is always a place to fit in and work in God’s kingdom. Just keep in mind that it’s not about how useless you, or someone else, thinks you are, it’s about how useful God can make you. The sky is the limit.