From Nothing to Something
If God calls someone nothing, who am to contradict Him! In fact, this is one of the paradoxes of the Christian life. When you think that you are something, you are actually nothing—we call that pride. When you think that you are nothing, then you are truly something—that we call humility. As you know, bragging on oneself is the mark of a fool; and what is a fool? A fool is nothing in God's eyes. The "Joker" in a deck of playing cards has no numeric value like the other cards. The Joker is the zero card—and fools are the zeros in the deck of humanity, the moral, spiritual equivalent of nothing.
In 2 Corinthians 12:11, Paul is uncomfortable talking about himself (something fools have no trouble doing). Yet, Paul admits that his life is no zero in accomplishment: "for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles. though be nothing." Just like Paul, we are nothing in ourselves, but by the grace of God, we become something special and can do something noble.
Apart from God's grace, we are just nothing. No wonder Paul described himself this way in 1 Corinthians 15:10. "But by the grace of God I am what I am..." In other words, Paul says, "I am nothing apart from God's grace." We owe everything to God's grace! And grace is not nothing, no matter what others think! Both verses—2 Corinthians 2:11 and 1 Corinthians 15:10—teaches clearly and convincingly that less is more and more is less. If we see ourselves as nothing, with less than the least, then we can do more than those who boast of the most, but lack God's grace.