Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown… They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?”… They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. (Mark 6:1-3)
Relate: It was a frustrating summer. My freshman year in college was spent at Zion Bible Institute and I had returned home to Rochester NY full of zeal and idealism. I had been changed. I had vision. I knew how life and ministry was supposed to happen. And then I got the figurative condescending smile and the pat on the head. Nobody was willing to recognize that I was not the same person I was nine months earlier.
I’ve seen the same thing happen over and over again to freshmen students who return home over the summer. They leave with such vision and high hopes. They have begun stepping into leadership ministry and want to take what they have learned in their classrooms and campus groups and apply it in the setting and with the people they knew so well. Except that setting has changed, those people have changed and no one is willing to realize how much those students have changed. Sometimes the change has not been enough. Old habits sometimes die hard and we get sucked back into the lifestyle we had left behind.
React: I think that’s what his old neighbors and friends expected of Jesus. “Look, its great that your cousin John is out there doing his thing. You went out there and did your thing too. Its pretty impressive, really it is. But we know who you really are. My aunt Sarah used to change your diaper when she babysat you as a kid. I remember playing hide and seek in your backyard back in the day. By the way, that new yoke you and your dad Joe made us a few years back is needing a little adjusting. New ox and all. Why not settle down and set up your trade like the responsible young man we know you are. That’s what you’re really good at after all.”
People just don’t know. They’ve been there for so much of your life that they don’t realize it is time for something new. You’ve gone to another level. You’ve begun a new chapter. That old man is gone. Its encouraging to know that even Jesus had to face doubters and detractors those times he had to return to his hometown. But he didn’t listen to them. He didn’t fall into the patterns of behavior they expected of him or limit himself to the small expectations they placed on him. He knew his destiny was so much greater. He was made for so much more. So were you.
God, I know I’m not who I used to be. You’ve changed me. But sometimes it takes time for those changes to be recognized by others. Help me to be patient with them as I remain faithful to the task of becoming more and more who You want me to be. Help me not to give in or fall back into the old patterns of thought I used to have. Help me also to not limit myself to their small expectations. You are doing so much more than the skeptics and doubters can even dream. Help me to live only by Your calling.