August 30. Ezekiel 13 – 15
15:1 Then this message came to me from the Lord: 2 “Son of dust, what good are vines from the forest? Are they as useful as trees? Are they even as valuable as a single branch? 3 No, for vines can’t be used even for making pegs to hang up pots and pans! 4 All they are good for is fuel—and even so, they burn but poorly! 5-6 So they are useless both before and after being put in the fire!
It is hard to imagine any more disappointing words to be heard, or a more heartbreaking realization than this – “you are useless.” Powerful words. If the nation of Israel would not put away the idols of their hearts and heed the warnings of God’s prophet, then it would be impossible for them to follow God’s plan and will for their lives. If they could not follow it, they would be useless in His plan for His kingdom and His creation.
There is not much you can do with useless things, other than to remove them or to restore them to usefulness again. Let's begin with removing them. What in your life is useless for serving God? It does not promote His plan or display His will for your life or for others to understand and know Him through your life. What useless habit, attitude, practice or perspective do you need to remove from your life?
Okay, what about the thing that may not need to be removed, but it certainly is not serving its intended purpose, and out of neglect or misuse it has become useless for God’s glory? What is that area of your life? What do you need to restore in order for it to be available for God’s use once again? Perhaps you have great tools, resources, abilities and a personality that could reflect God’s glory, love, and truth, but instead now they only reflect your will and your plans rather than His, focusing all attention on you, rather than the One who gave you those tools, talents, treasures and time.
Even in chapter 14 of this reading, God gave the people a warning, and a chance to restore their purpose and become useful again. Noah, Daniel, and Job, were mentioned four times as examples of people that remained useful in the direst of all circumstances. Sure it is easy to appear to be a useful vessel or follower of Christ when all is going well, but how are you in the pressure moments of your life? What is your default response to problems, conflicts, disappointments, and fears? Those responses can give you insight into your usefulness.
No one likes to be labeled “useless”. It is strong language that demands attention. Remove the truly useless attitudes and actions in your life. And restore those useful ones that have been neglected, forgotten or replaced by something else, make them useful again for God’s honor and His glory.