When preparing for a sermon with a rich text and the pastor sees so many wonderful things, what is she to do? She cannot preach three completely different themes. She picks one and goes with it. And the second, well, that becomes the topic of her next blog!

Today I preached on the story of Hannah's prayer to God and how she was transformed in the act of prayer (see I Samuel 1:4-20 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=I%20Samuel%201:4-20&version=NIV). Also in that passage is her husband Elkanah, and he is a wonderful minor character with a story all his own.

When preparing to sacrifice to God, Elkanah gave double portions of the meat to his wife Hannah because he loved her. Hannah was barren and had no children. In the culture of the time, being barren meant a woman was worthless. She became a true burden to her family, since she left no sons to help with the family business. Elkanah's actions demonstrated a man who found worth in a woman society discarded.

Who does our society label as worthless today? Who do we discard? Hannah was taunted relentlessly by a rival wife. How do we taunt others, even inadvertently?

Thankfully, Jesus Christ's love is for everyone. Jesus deems no one to be worthless. We need only look at who he ministered to - the orphan, the widow, the criminal, the tax collector, the ill - the discarded. Christ's love is for all! Who are we to say that someone is worthless? Our Creator God gives them worth!

Think of who might need a reassuring word from you today. Who in your life might feel discarded? How might you offer them a bit of God's love? How might you see the worth in them that God sees?

Gracious Lord, thank you for loving me. Thank you for seeing me as valuable to you. May I see others around me that way, too. Amen.