Zero Value Added
- September 30, 2022
- Posted by: Carolyn Mahal
- Category: Devotions
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9
Being a Lutheran, I am very familiar with potluck dinners. These mainstays of the church calendar are simple to manage. You just invite people to attend the meal with a dish to pass. These spreads often being a wide variety of foods that allow everyone to eat something new that they like as they enjoy the fellowship of sharing a meal. The concept is simple; if everyone brings a little something, then everyone can be satisfied without anyone being tasked with buying and/or making a huge meal.
But what happens if you attend the dinner, and you don’t bring anything? Often there will be someone there to reassure you that it’s okay because there’s so much already there, but that treatment is usually provided to guests, visitors, and those who can’t afford to bring any food. For those who have the time, the means, and the ability to bring food, eating without contributing is a major faux pas that usually leaves you feeling extremely guilty. Why? It’s because most people don’t want to feel as though they hadn’t added anything of value to the meal.
Call it pride, ego, or just good manners, we should want to bring value to our families, our friends, and to the groups to which we belong. Nobody wants to feel as though they don’t bring value. A boyfriend or girlfriend will soon be an ex if they’re not bringing value to the relationship. An employee who doesn’t benefit the company is likely to be out of a job. A member of a sports team who brings no value to his teammates won’t stick with the team for very long. In some cases, others assess your contributions and decide to distance themselves from you. But we are also very capable of removing ourselves from situations where we feel like we’re not making a difference, being effective, or are simply unwanted.
That’s a difficult place to find yourself. Maybe you first experienced this in school when people were picking teams for kickball. Maybe that person with whom you had a crush introduced you to the feeling. Perhaps a boss sat you down one day and invited you to pack up your things. Whenever it happened and whatever the circumstances were, the feeling of being unwanted, of being alone, of being without value is something all of us have experienced a time or two during our lives.
Thankfully, God has demonstrated to us that this is not how He feels about us. Of course, if anyone had a reason to kick us to the curb, it would be our Heavenly Father. We have sinned against Him every day of our lives and in most every way imaginable. Our relationship with Him has been give and take, meaning only one of us gives while the other only takes. Surely God would be better served just scrapping the entire creation and just start over. However, that is not what He wants and the opposite of what He has done. Despite our undesirability, He loves us. He forgives us. He restores us. In fact, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins. This is the ironic thing about our relationship with God. For most people, if you contribute nothing to your relationship with them, you’d understandably be cast aside. With God, we have nothing we can contribute, yet His love never ceases.
May we give thanks to our Father who has given us everything, forgives us, restores us, and sustains us so that we, along with the rest of mankind, might spend eternity with Him, firm in the knowledge of just how valuable we truly are.
Devotion by Richard Schumacher
Senior Director of Operations