Worthlessness has often been described as feelings of hopeless, useless, insignificant, or believing you have nothing valuable to offer the world. One study found that of all the symptoms of depression, feeling worthless was one of the most frequent experiences. It’s quite possible that Naomi in the story of Ruth might have been troubled with feeling worthless. Perhaps that was why she told the people in her town not to call her Naomi which means pleasant, but call her mara—“Mary”, which means bitter. This not to say she herself was bitter toward God, but that she felt God had abandoned her and made her feel worthless. When she left Bethlehem, she had a husband and two sons. Now upon her return they are all dead. Feeling useless and hopeless, she blames God for her plight, even though she still has a daughter-in-law who loves her deeply, neighbors that have welcomed her enthusiastically, and she was arriving at the barley harvest time. As we often do, she overlooked her blessings and focused on what she did not have. Today, if you are feeling helpless or hopeless, take time to count up your blessings. Just as that hymn says, it will surprise you what the Lord has already done.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More

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