God created you and those around you with unique strengths and has placed you together to be more together than you can be alone. But misconceptions can get in the way of learning to lead from your strengths. This series reveals common misconceptions about strengths and the truths behind the myths.
Misconception #2: Some strengths are more valuable than others.
Second in a series that addresses misconceptions about leading from your strengths
Bertie is quiet. She is the kind of person that is easy to overlook – a gentle spirit whose agreeable, unassuming nature and low-keyed approach to problem solving make her likeable.
But the few who know Bertie well cite her determination in facing risks as her greatest strength. Bertie has a powerful intercessory prayer life. It is not unusual for her to pray bold, even radical, prayers and experience amazing impact. “Bertie is a risk-taker,” says her long-time pastor. “She is fearless in facing spiritual battles.”
In contrast, Bertie’s sister-in-law Lou Ann was energetic and effervescent, known for her dynamic personality and ability to get things done. People flock to Lou Ann. Her ability to make quick decisions and convince others to join in activities puts her front-and-center in managing events, public speaking, and engaging community members.
Which set of strengths is more valuable – Bertie’s quiet, behind-the-scenes persistence or Lou Ann’s magnetic draw?
Value May Be Concealed
To the casual observer, Lou Ann’s strengths are obvious. Bertie’s are hidden. It can be tempting to believe Lou Ann’s strengths are more valuable … because they are more noticeable.
Scripture says, “Those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (1 Corinthians 12:22, NIV). Here Paul identifies the “weaker” organs as those which are not visible, such as the heart, stomach, liver, and kidneys. They are hidden away from view, but are essential to life.
Like these interior parts, strengths which are unnoticed, unknown, or concealed from public view are just as essential to those which are obvious. Do you sit up and notice when Bertie expends her fervent passion in her prayer closet? Probably not. It’s easier to be inspired by Lou Ann’s compelling presence. Yet both are vital. A strength’s visibility does not determine its value.
Value May Be Intangible
In a consumer-driven culture, “weaker” parts of the body may be perceived as those that produce fewer outward results. To the casual observer, Bertie’s strengths may appear less valuable than Lou Ann’s because their outcomes – such as spiritual transformation or salvation – are intangible. Lou Ann’s strengths, on the other hand, produce concrete results by recruiting large numbers of volunteers and raising considerable amounts of money.
The human attraction to headlines can cloud our perception of value. Yet a quiet, bold prayer warrior and a passionate mobilizer are both integral to God’s Kingdom work.
Value is Interdependent
Scripture makes it clear that each part of the body depends on the other (1 Corinthians 12:21) – the eye cannot claim it has no need for the hand and the head cannot disown the foot.
Fortunately, Bertie and Lou Ann recognize this powerful principle and depend on each other in their ministry efforts. Lou Ann counts on Bertie’s bold, faith-filled prayers as she conducts her campaigns. Bertie relies on Lou Ann’ persuasive abilities to recruit workers and participants for prayer vigils. Without persistent intercessors like Bertie, strongholds would persist. Without dynamic recruiters like Lou Ann, fewer people would be connected and less would get done. Their strengths complement one another.
In God’s eyes, strengths are not measured on a sliding scale of worth. Rather, your individual strengths are piece of a puzzle, interlocking with others around you. When you identify and use your strengths – and value the strengths of others – the whole is complete.