Ministry among those closest to us…

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Family-Reunion-at-Sandy-Cove

Scripture: 22 (The people of the town of Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown) spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”… 24 And (Jesus) said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown…

Observation: Jesus had begun a remarkable ministry, going into towns and villages teaching about the Kingdom of God and demonstrating the power of the Kingdom by healing people, casting out demons, and so on. However, his effectiveness was limited in Nazareth, his hometown. People there were very familiar with Jesus and his entire family. In the eyes of many who’d grown up with him, he would always be “that guy Jesus”. One of us. Not the Messiah.

Application: I never expected to be a pastor. And I can honestly say there was little in the first 20-25 of my life that suggested I would be called to the Christian ministry. Far from it. Now that I’ve been a pastor for almost 20 years, I can see how the Lord prepared me all along for this work. However, I am not called to be a pastor to everyone.

To my family, to my oldest friends, I’m not a pastor. I’m just “Ernie”, and I am completely okay with that. For these people, I am a peer. I am simply “one of them”, not someone set apart. I trust the Lord to send others to be their pastor, since it’s not me.

Perhaps like me, you haven’t always lived as a follower of Jesus, but you’ve grown significantly in your faith more recently. Perhaps the Lord has given you grace to share the gospel with others, to teach others, to pray for others, to disciple them. And you naturally want to function in the same way with those closest to you, but find yourself frustrated. Take heart dear sister/brother.

You may indeed be called to lead others in Christian faith, but remember that none of us is called to everyone. This was clearly true for Jesus. That said, I’m sure years after Jesus left, other leaders arrived in Nazareth who did not grow up there – and had access to the hearts of the people in the way Jesus did not. The same is true of our loved ones.

Don’t take it as a personal rejection if there are some who are close to you cannot hear gospel from you, or be discipled by you. Our heavenly Father has not forgotten about them. And, in the meantime, simply enjoy the relationship you DO HAVE with those closest to you.

Prayer: Gracious God, we thank you for the opportunities you give us to share our faith with others. We particularly pray for those closest to us who may not be as receptive to us as others are. Give us grace to embrace this limitation, trusting that you have a plan for those near and dear to our hearts. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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