Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches
Had Bellies with stars.
The Plain-Belly Sneetches
Had none upon thars….”
~Dr. Seuss, The Sneetches and Other Stories
So begins Christa McKirland’s AfterDark talk: “Leveraging Your Advantages.” Believe it or not, this nostalgic children’s story has everything to do with the Gospel.
Using Dr. Seuss’s story as a frame, Christa tells the story of Paul and Silas’ imprisonment in Philippi, unpacking the ways Paul and Silas gave up their rights and advantages to share the life-giving power of the gospel to those of any social class, citizenship, gender, or other social status (Acts 16). She points to Jesus and the ways he gave up his rights and advantages as the Son of God for our sake (Philippians 2).
And then, she offers a challenge: what would it be like for us to follow the examples of Jesus, Paul and Silas? What would it be like to identify our own advantages, given simply by virtue of being born into our particular family and culture - our education, physical or mental or intellectual ability, race, and socioeconomic status - and willingly give up our advantages for the good of those around us?
“Giving up our stars,” she says, “is the cost of discipleship. His scars trump our stars.”
(Can't you just see her telling this story to the baby in her belly, due just one month after this talk?)
It’s not often that I am deeply encouraged and challenged in the same moment: encouraged at the incredible love of Jesus and challenged to step more deeply into offering that love to others - for the sake of the gospel and for the good and flourishing of others. I encourage you to check out her AfterDark talk at this link, and consider:
- What are your stars? In God’s providence, what advantages do you hold in this life - education, position at a job (or free time without a job), physical or mental or intellectual ability, race, or socioeconomic status?
- How might you leverage your advantages to foster flourishing lives and communities for those around you?
P.S. Christa and her husband Matt had a baby girl. :)