Who Is Useful?

Someone said in a joking manner that boys are more useful than girls. It was in the context of hoping for a boy grand child. There were already girls born into the family so now the desire was something useful.

This remark has remained with me. What do we deem useful? And is this the right way to view life? What constitutes useful?

If this child is born in a less than perfect condition, will he/she be deemed useful by the new grand-parent?


These comments and attitudes cannot be tolerated in a gospel-shaped culture. These comments are the kind of comments that take life. All life, created in the image of God, is valuable. Maybe useful is not even an appropriate word at all regarding human beings.

I would never be deemed as someone who is useful in these terms because I have Chronic Late Stage Lyme Disease. I cannot always be reliable. I am not strong. I have a daily struggle with pain so you cannot rely on me for anything one hundred percent—ever. Does this make me less useful to this earth? Oh, and yes, I'm a woman so there's another strike against me according to the comment above. When does it come to the point of view that I'm not even worth anything? That I begin to take up too much air and food? I am exaggerating partly but there are people who take these ideas and thoughts and run with them to the extremes. That's how abortion culture happens. And assisted suicide. And concentration camps. And slavery. And the like. Where does it end? It's more than a simple thought of what's useful.

People are not objects, they are living-breathing-feeling-image-bearers of our God the Creator.

God actually takes this pretty seriously. In Romans 9:20 it states, "But who are you, a mere man, to talk back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?”(CSB) If as a created being it is wrong for me to question my Creator on this issue, then it is also wrong for someone else to accuse God of making someone incorrectly. Despite the sex, disability, or race, all are right in the Creators eyes because He is the one who "forms us in our mother's womb" (Psalm 139). He makes no mistakes. And He puts great value on us.

Jesus tells us, "Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." (Matthew10:29-31, CSB).

Think about this, not even a sparrow (who is valued in human terms as less than a penny) falls to the ground without God allowing it, and He knows us so intimately that He knows the number of hairs on our heads, how beautiful is it that the value of hair matters to God? He finds all humans valuable and useful. We all matter to Him.

And if that does not convince you, Jesus found us valuable enough (male and female, disabled or not) to rescue. There are countless examples of it all throughout the word. But the greatest sacrifice Jesus made was laying down His life for a people who were so lost they could not save themselves. He laid down His life for a people who had it all but blew it because they chose sin over fellowship with God. He chose "the foolishness of this world to shame the wise and the weak of this world to shame the strong" (1 Corinthians 1:27).

So the word useful is not even acceptable in describing another image bearer of God. Instead we must look at each person as created in the image of the life-giving, restoration-bringing, peace-restoring Savior and give thanks for their diversity whether sex, disability, or race. All are made perfectly by the one and only Creator of all things.

Angela Parsley is a certified biblical counselor who lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with her husband, Tony, and their three children. They are members of Concord Baptist Church. Angela writes and reviews books at her blog, Refresh My Soul. You can follow her on Twitter.