Returning Home Different (2/22/13)

Read: Leviticus 13:1-59, Mark 6:1-29, Psalm 39:1-13, Proverbs 10:10

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)

Things Have Changed

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.

Respond: 

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.

17 thoughts on “Returning Home Different (2/22/13)

  1. This was well said and I read this at the right moment. What we do with that change is completely between us and The Lord. We need neither recognition or affirmation at that time. It’s an inward change that will slowly seep out in the surface of our being and shine forth. Thank you for this post.

  2. It is so true what you said about truly being on fire for God & just receiving a pat on the head and then slipping back into our old habits. I have been guilty of this too many times. My prayer has been consistency in all things. He is faithful!

  3. i love the Read, Relate, React and Respond format of the posts. i may try this on some of mine as well. thanks.
    mike

  4. Your descriptions and the picture illustrations are rich and fresh, and your honesty is truthful and refreshing – your congregation is blest.

  5. I really liked the way you made Jesus more real. Also, I have seen young people return home from college with just the sort of changes you have described. I remind them of what Paul told Timothy, Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

  6. I know the feeling, having been changed. When i came to live with the family that i live with now, the ones i write that are taking care of me through teeth and nail, are Christians. It’s through their grace that I’ve recovered this month.
    Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. If you’d like to provide some relief, that will go a long way.
    Have a blessed day

  7. I can relate! In the long run, if we press (forward & upward), even the doubters/detractors can’t deny–this man/woman indeed had an encounter w/Jesus! Time ALWAYS tells. So proud of you!

  8. So true! Thank you for the encouragement as we go through change, as well as for the reminder and exhortation to be mindful and understanding when others are experiencing life change. Thank you, too, for posting and introducing songs. (^_^)

    • I think, sometimes, it takes me longer to find the right song than it actually does to write. Often I feel like there’s a bunch of great songs that don’t quite fit. Other times I give up and just put anything there. But shhhh, don’t tell. 😉

  9. I rarely read “writing only posts” but yours kept me interested from the first to the last word. I really relate with your post. I left home when I just turned 20 and attended a Youth WIth a Mission School of Discipleship and a School of Evangelism in the Netherlands. I traveled on outreaches In western and eastern Europe and Asia.

    When I returned home, I experienced a re-entry culture shock like you speak of in your post. I ended up becoming a career missionary and later pastor’s wife but when this ended after 15 years, once again, I had to re-enter American culture, go back to school, get a job as a teacher, and support two children as a single parent.

    Now I’m 53 and can say with all confidence that the Lord will lead you so intimately and encourage you so amazingly that you will fulfill His purposes for your life irregardless of where you live. You will be a spiritual and cultural translator. By this I mean, you will bridge the gap between your bible school experience and your back-home world. Just the fact that you can write such an engaging, heart-felt post is proof enough of this.

    • Thank you very much. For me, that freshman year experience is closing in on twenty years back. Like you said, it is an experience that is felt in many ways by many people at different situations in their life. The fact that even Jesus had a similar experience is encouragement once again that he has been “tried in every way as we are, yet was without sin”. He knows all our struggles.

      • I had no idea you were writing about an experience that happened 20 years ago. That sheds an entirely different light on things. How wonderful that your writings can encourage young adults that are going through similar experiences.

  10. Pingback: Two Birds (2/23/13) | The River Walk

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