“Good for nothing”.  What a harsh string of words.  Those are words I would never want to hear spoken about me or anyone I love.  Those are words that plunge a dagger into the heart.  Even if I were simply to speak those words over a kitchen gadget, one would assume that my next move is to throw it in the trash.  After all, if something is good for nothing, then it’s just taking up space.

And while I know that I’ve let God down millions of times throughout my life, I’m glad that He’s never looked at me and thought, “She’s good for nothing.  I don’t know why I bothered giving her breath today.” NEVER! Not once. And he’s never thought that about you either!  Even on your worst day, the Lord is glad that you woke up and is giving you another fresh chance to walk with Him.

However, even though “Good for Nothing” isn’t a phrase that the Lord uses about us, it is found in the Bible.  And when I read it, I was surprised.  When I read those words and what they were spoken over, I got a little prick in my heart.  Let me share the story with you and I think you’ll see why.

The story is found in 1 Kings Chapter 9.  After 20 years of building his palaces and the extravagant temple, Solomon gives a gift to the neighboring king, Hiram.  Hiram, from the outset of this huge undertaking, provided thousands of laborers, cedar from his forests and over 4 TONS of gold for the massive building projects. Hiram and Solomon had a great working relationship and there was peace between their kingdoms as a result.

So when Solomon gives his friend and ally a gift of two cities, especially considering Hiram’s dedication to a project from which he doesn’t benefit and considering Solomon’s great wealth, one would assume that these cities were among Solomon’s best. I mean, what do you give a king who has everything? You give him a really great city – or two!

So when Hiram went down to view the cities, he was less than impressed.  What a slap face it must have been to see that your friend to whom you have provided so much and been in his corner throughout the beginning of his career and building projects, has given you two cruddy cities.  The Bible doesn’t say why they were not desirable.  Maybe they looked like the desolate towns in Westerns where you see tumbleweeds rolling through and empty buildings dotting a barren landscape.  I don’t know why these cities were not great, but Hiram looked at them and called them, Cabul, which interpreted means, Good-for-nothing.

And here’s what pricked my heart.  How many times have I been like Solomon and given a cruddy gift to the Lord who has blessed me so richly?  The quality of the gifts of thanksgiving, praise, worship and even my time and money, all speak about the level of self-centeredness in my heart.  I doubt that Solomon was trying to be rude or make his friend feel invalidated by the shabby gift.  I think that Solomon was just starting to become so incredibly self-focused that he was losing touch with the people and blessings in his life.

Just this year, the Lord has been speaking to me about my heart in regards to materialism and hoarding.  He has been showing me a poverty mentality in my thought processes that makes me cling like fly paper to anything good that comes into my life.  But the cycle of blessing is supposed to be like a hose.  The blessing is supposed to flow through me and not end with me.  As long as I hold out on giving my best back to the Lord and to the people he has placed around me, I am demonstrating the selfishness and lack of generous love in my heart.

Here are 2 keys to overcoming this trap that the Lord and I are working on:

  1. Give what you think you need.  Whether it’s money, time, or words of appreciation, give in the area where you feel afraid to become impoverished and where you find yourself holding on the most tightly.
  2. Give more than you feel comfortable giving.  Giving to the limit of our comfort plateaus our growth.  A friend of mine is trying to lose weight.  She told me that to slaughter her plateau on the scale, she had to drastically cut out sugar and carbs (her food cravings) for a few months.  Wow! She started dropping pounds right away.  The same is true with our heart  If we see that we have plateaued in our growth regarding how we love those around us and how we show our gratitude back to God, we may need to incorporate some drastic measures for a period of time.

I don’t want to give a cruddy gift back to the One who has given me everything.  I don’t want to hold on tightly to the meager things I own in this life at the expense of investing in others and in the Kingdom of God that is eternal. I am so grateful that I can find forgiveness for my selfishness and learn to walk with a generous, open heart that gives freely.

Lord, I thank You that you love me and value me.  Help me to live with open hands and a generous heart, whether I am in need or in blessing.  Let my life be a fragrant offering back to You as You have given me more than I could ever repay! Amen.