I read something powerful today in the bible version I am reading called “The NIV Worship Bible” and I want to share it..out of Mark 6:1-4
6 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph,[a] Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.”
I think in the age we live in, we have so twisted God’s ways that we need to stop for a minute and just consider the things the world honors. Let’s just turn on the TV or go on to YouTube…what is now honored is sexual perversion, adultery, having children out of wedlock, those who are wealthy and famous, behavior and image that brings shock and extreme, dishonor for authority, and the list goes on and on.
At the same time, we who call ourselves “Christians” or “believers” and not of this world, will often honor how many degrees a person has or what they have accomplished before someone else who is less accomplished. Status and charisma are exalted before humility and meekness. I am not saying that education and accomplishments are not God’s ways and should not be recognized – quite the contrary, I believe that is important. However, God also told us that we should judge the fruit of a person’s life not just the titles they have – fruit of the Spirit has more to do with character, godliness and integrity than the number of degrees someone has or how famous they have become with their talents. In the above passage of Scripture, the people in Yeshua’s village and hometown had seen him perform miracles, heard Him teach the Scriptures with authority and wisdom and at the same time, received the children with joy, touched and healed the leper, give forgiveness to the adulterous woman, and ate with tax collectors …and yet because He didn’t go through their ‘approved’ sanctions of what they valued as credible, they did not honor the Messiah Himself. They were blinded by their offense and dishonor.
I’ll be honest, it’s a little hard for me to go to a big church these days. Not because there aren’t wonderful people and not because I didn’t have some amazing times with God at big churches over the years…but because sometimes the things that are being honored are an affront to my spirit… people measure the success of a church by how big it is, how many cell groups they have, how big the worship team is and how big the stage is, how charismatic the pastor and his wife are, what everyone is wearing and how they look and even how many people get saved every week. I have seen where guests that were dressed in suits and dresses were ushered by the ushers to sit close up behind the pastor as opposed to those who came in jeans and t-shirts who were shown a seat in the back.
Here is a written prayer I read recently that spoke to my heart: “Too often we, like Jesus’ neighbors, judge by our world-tainted wisdom, rather than by Your Spirit. We think, “How could one less-educated than I, one less experienced, one so young, so old, so poor, my neighbor, my own brother –or the carpenter’s son– show me anything about God’s ways? How could he be a bearer of the anointing? The answer is that You have chosen the humble to know You best and to confound the proud. Help me God, to live in humility so that I will never miss Your messenger or Your message. (Ro 1:20-22; Jas 4:6; 1Pe 5:5)