When You Are Nobody

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
1 Samuel 1-3; Luke 8:26-56


One time, after eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah got up and presented herself before the Lord. (Now Eli the priest was sitting in the chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s temple.) 10 Hannah was very upset and couldn’t stop crying as she prayed to the Lord. 11 Then she made this promise: “Lord of heavenly forces, just look at your servant’s pain and remember me! Don’t forget your servant! Give her a boy! Then I’ll give him to the Lord for his entire life. No razor will ever touch his head.”

12 As she kept praying before the Lord, Eli watched her mouth. 13 Now Hannah was praying in her heart; her lips were moving, but her voice was silent, so Eli thought she was drunk.

14 “How long will you act like a drunk? Sober up!” Eli told her.

15 “No sir!” Hannah replied. “I’m just a very sad woman. I haven’t had any wine or beer but have been pouring out my heart to the Lord. 16 Don’t think your servant is some good-for-nothing woman. This whole time I’ve been praying out of my great worry and trouble!”

17 Eli responded, “Then go in peace. And may the God of Israel give you what you’ve asked from him.”

18 “Please think well of me, your servant,” Hannah said. Then the woman went on her way, ate some food, and wasn’t sad any longer.

19 They got up early the next morning and worshiped the Lord. Then they went back home to Ramah. Elkanah had sex with his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So in the course of time, Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, which means “I asked the Lord for him.” 1 Samuel 1:9-20, Common English Bible).

In every society, in every era of history, there have been the “nobodies.” These are the people others took little, if any notice of as they moved around them. In pre-1865 America it would be the slaves. It could also be the immigrants who played important roles as American society grew up. The railroads that played such an important part in the industrial revolution might have taken far longer without the work of immigrants (and no, this post is not about immigration policy).

Through much of India’s history, due to the caste system, the somebodies lived at the top of the system. As has to happen under such a structure, someone also has to be at the bottom. They would be the nobodies.

Today we can look around the world to refugees in parts of the world where there is strife. Here in the U.S. there are the victims of sex-trafficking, the homeless and the working poor to name only a few.

We haven’t even begun to talk about those who are “nobodies” because they aren’t “somebodies.” Somebodies are those one might here say, “Don’t you know who I am?”

In the Biblical era there were many groups that fell into that group. These would include tax collectors, lepers, any number of people who held jobs society would have considered “unclean.” But there was also a large group called women. Almost every woman was a nobody gaining her identity from first, her father and later her husband. Even still, she really wasn’t a somebody, at least as much as her station in life would allow her to be, until she had a child in general and a male child in particular.

Such was the problem of Hannah. Hannah was one of two wives of Elkanah. The other was Peninnah. Peninnah had children, including male heirs. Hannah had no one. She was the more loved of the two by their husbands but Hannah knew she was a nobody in the house of Elkanah.

Hannah went to pray in Shiloh where Eli was the priest. For her part, Hannah prayed. As she talked with Eli, he said, “May the Lord give you what you seek.”

Hannah’s prayers were more than just prayers for a child. They were specific for a son. Hannah also made a promise part of her prayer. She prayed that if God would give her a son, she would in turn, give the son back to God.

God did allow Hannah to conceive. Hannah was also true to her word. When the boy was old enough, Hannah brought him back to Eli, dedicating him and leaving him to learn how best to serve God.

With that, Hannah was no longer a nobody.

Our prayer each day should be for God to help us see those in the world refuses to see. May we pray that God will open our eyes to see the nobodies around us that we might help them learn that they too are somebodies.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

One thought on “When You Are Nobody

  1. I have worked with special needs children for many years. If anyone is the least and last in line, it is these dear children. The mention of Jesus and they are light bulbs for Christ. They are somebody to Him!

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