Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Useful or Useless?

Are you feeling useful or useless?

The book of Philemon mentions that Onesimus' name meant 'useful' but because he ran away, he was seen as useless to his master. This got me thinking about how God sees us in the light of his kingdom. I find it interesting that Paul mentions that he led Onesimus to Christ and how useful he was to Him during his imprisonment.

Throughout history people have made themselves available to God – willing to do what was needed. I think of Mother Teresa, Billy Graham and others who have accomplished amazing things with kingdom impact just by saying yes. Every one of us has a purpose in God's plan – a useful place to bring glory to Him by saying 'yes' to His call.

In the Bible, Joseph overcame being sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and imprisonment from the false accusations of Potipher's wife, to become Pharoah's #1 man. Esther was chosen as queen just in time to save her people from Haman's annihilation plot. Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt despite the many obstacles Pharoah designed. Moses' rod divided the Red Sea so the people could escape the pursuing Egyptian army. He drew water from a rock when the people complained of thirst. And, he led the grumbling people through the wilderness for forty years and eventually to the Promised Land. None of these could have been accomplished without surrendering to God when He prompted them to obedience.

We, like Moses and so many others make excuses for our weakness and suggest someone else more suitable for the job; But, just as God saw not just a shepherd-boy in the heart of David – but a shepherd-king to lead a nation, God sees something useful in us – by his design and for His purpose.

Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." NASB

What is God asking of you? What simple 'yes' could be the start of something amazing for His kingdom? It may be that God sees beyond your idea of uselessness and is asking that you trust Him for what you cannot see. May you be willing to say yes to His call, and understand that He sees you as chosen and useful. The ripple effect will be amazing!


  1. Jeanne, I love what you're doing with this study through Philemon. You've made salient points that I'm sure most reader miss in casual reading through the Bible.

    Thank you so much.

  2. I love this series on Philemon. Not a book I've considered much lately. The shorter pieces are really working.

  3. Thank you both for your comments. Philemon is one of those books I never really took the time to read. Not sure what I was thinking...just one chapter, how much can it really say? Boy, was I wrong! I have been so blessed by its message.


  4. I think one of the reasons folks don't always say yes to God's plan is because they don't see themselves as making a huge useful contribution to God's kingdom. If they are not making a huge contribution, they must be useless. But God doesn't always call each of us to become Billy Graham or Mother Theresa. He often calls us to make a very small, yet important, useful contribution daily or weekly or monthly...

  5. Jeanne,
    Ephesians 2:10 gives me hope. Thanks for reminding me of it again!

  6. We do need and want those reminders, don't we!! When I am in the middle of my storm, I often need someone else to remind me of the One who calmed the sea.




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