Returning Home Different

returning home different

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)

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

Relate: It was a frustrating summer. I had spent my freshman year of college at Zion in Rhode Island and I had returned home to Rochester, New York, full of zeal and idealism. I had been changed. I had vision. After two semesters of classroom learning, I knew all about how life and ministry was supposed to happen. Then I got the what amounted to a condescending smile and a pat on the head. Nobody was willing to recognize that I was not the same person who had left nine months earlier.

I have seen the same thing happen over and over again to freshmen students who return home that first summer. They leave with such vision and high hopes. They have begun stepping into leadership and positions of authority and now they want to take what they have learned in their classrooms and campus groups and apply it in their home setting among the people they thought 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 as well. Sometimes the change has not been enough. Old habits die hard and I have seen some students get sucked right back into the immature, even sinful, lifestyle they thought they had left behind.

React: I think that what might have been what His old neighbors and friends expected of Jesus. “Look, it’s great that your cousin John is out there doing his thing. You went out there and tried it out too. It’s 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. By the way, that new yoke you and your dad Joe made s a few years back needs a little adjusting. Wear and tear plus I’m using a different ox, you know. Why not settle down and get back to your trade like the responsible young man we all know you are. That’s what you’re really good at anyways. Save this preaching stuff for your cousin.”

People just don’t know. They have been there for so much of your past life that they don’t realize it is time for something new. You have gone to another level. You have begun a new chapter. That old man is gone. It is encouraging to know that even Jesus had to face doubters and detractors those times he returned to His old hometown. But He didn’t listen to them. He didn’t fall into the patterns of behavior and small expectations they tried to impose on Him. He knew His destiny was much greater. He was made for so much more. So are you.

Respond: 

God, I know that I am not who I used to be. You changed me. Sometimes it takes time for those changes to be recognized by others. Help me to be patient with them while still holding hard to the vision You have for me. Help me to not back down or fall into patterns of thought and action that belongs to my past. Help me to not limit myself to others small expectations of me. Yo are doing so much more in my life than the skeptics and doubters could ever dream. Help me to live only by Your calling.

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16 thoughts on “Returning Home Different

  1. I can’t tell you how much I love this post! My husband is 72 years old. We were just talking yesterday about how his two older brothers still treat him like a child and have such small expectations of him. My husband is a good man — ironically, the best of the three. He has always held to the expectations that God has from him; not what his family expects from him.

  2. It can be a struggle when people try to bind you to who you used to be. Do you think it may be because people get comfortable with who you were and don’t want to have to change to accommodate who you have become? Is it really just about being uncomfortable with change?

  3. The thing I sometimes find hard in the new life is in church, I love the church I now go to. I sometimes find it hard to get involved with things because everyone else seems to have had their Christian life for most of their life and have gone to this church most of their life and I am 68 and my Christian life is only 3 years old next month and have only been in this church for one year. I think is is mostly me and not them, I do like everyone in this church. The one thing God keeps telling me is to just take care of the Sunday School and I love having my own SS class. I thank God for that. I am happy that my family all seems to notice changes in me and are happy for me, I thank God for all of them.

  4. Excellent encouragement, thank you! I don’t know how you are able to write so much all the time (writer’s envy going on here) but I encourage you to keep enjoying that blessing and the calling to make Jesus famous among the nations!
    Blessings.

  5. I love your talk with young Jesus. That brought a smile to my heart. Thanks for sharing. I felt like I was sitting there talking about cousin john and a father named Joe. It personalized it for me.

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  7. And He said, “Truly I say to you that no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. AND in Mark too: And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown, and among his relatives, and in his household.” even Jesus has to repeat the important stuff. He went through the same sins, the same rejections, the same “Kingdom not the same here on earth, as it is in Heaven” as we do. In all likelihood, this is why HE tells us that when we pray, to pray including thus, “Thy Kingdom come, on earth, as it is in Heaven.”

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