I remember it still to this day. I was on the playground of my new school and I really didn’t know anyone. I had just entered sixth grade and suffice it to say, I wasn’t at my most confident. So there I was standing by the basketball goal watching some of the other kids play basketball when one of the bigger, more talented sixth graders comes down off of a lay-up, looks at me as asks, “What are you trying to be, some kind of dork?’ Even sitting here typing this today my 38-yr-old self cringes a little. But I wonder how many of us have ever been made to feel small, left-out, cut-down, diminished or less-than because of the words of another. The old adage ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’, really is a bunch of phooey. It is really quite easy to be made to feel good for nothing by the words of people around us.
This morning I stumbled upon a passage of scripture in 1 Kings…mainly because I hadn’t read the reference very well in my devotional as my eyes were still waking up. But in this passage it is speaking about Solomon’s building of the temple and one of the ways he attempted to pay back Hiram, King of Tyre for all of the resources he gave for the temple. The writer puts it this way, “King Solomon gave twenty towns in Galilee to Hiram king of Tyre…But when Hiram went from Tyre to see the towns that Solomon had given him, he was not pleased with them. “What kind of towns are these you have given me, my brother?” he asked. And he called them the Land of Kabul, a name they have to this day.” – 1 Kings 9:11-13 King Hiram called them Kabul, which roughly translated in Hebrew meant, ‘good for nothing’. King Hiram looked at Galilee and called it good for nothing. Similarly, a few hundred years later, Nathaniel asks another question of that region, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” – J0hn 1:46 And of course, we in the Christian faith realize that both Hiram and Nathaniel couldn’t be more wrong. For out of Galilee came salvation for the whole world.
I wonder if we ever think of insignificance in this way today. In a world where power, looks, money, ability, etc. is social currency, do we ever pay attention to those who may not measure up? Let me take you back to that 6th grader for a moment. I never really made it onto that court of my peers with full acceptance, but I did start playing with and encouraging some of the other younger students who were also on the playground. All of a sudden I was able to become the big sixth-grader mentor to some third and fourth grade students who often would get overlooked by their older siblings. I may or may not have even played basketball with a kid who eventually went on to play Division I NCAA ball (though I am not taking credit for that career…unless I should). But all that to say, no one is good for nothing. And you are not insignificant. May you not be defeated by the opinions of others today and may you also come to realize that you have the ability to lift up those around you as well.