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Jesus began His public ministry in Nazareth. It was the town where He grew up, where all His close friends and family lived―where any one of us would have expected plenty of hugs and hand claps of encouragement. But for Jesus, it was not a good experience.
The crowd was happy with Jesus’ teachings to a point, but when His words became a little more direct and corrective, the Bible says they became so enraged that they actually tried to kill Him (see Luke 4:28,29). Jesus didn’t even try to defend the validity of His ministry. Verse 30 says, “But passing through their midst, He went on His way.”
Now, the next place He went was Capernaum, where He preached to large crowds, performed miracles and cast out devils from among the people. And they were just so happy. They said, “Stay with us, Jesus. This is Your spot!” Well, who wouldn’t want to stay where everybody loves and appreciates you? But Jesus didn’t hang around there either because He knew there were others who needed to hear His message.
There’s a major lesson to be learned here. See, Jesus wasn’t moved by people’s rejection nor was He moved by their acceptance. He was moved by the Spirit of God.
If you can learn how to follow God whether you’re accepted or rejected, you’re well on your way to fulfilling the call of God on your life to reach out to others.
Have you ever tried to help someone who didn’t really want to be helped out of their situation? You know, we tend to think that if we could just explain things a little more clearly or be a little bit better witness, they could be helped. But honestly and truly, we’ve got to know when to break free from the burden of false responsibility.
In Matthew 10, Jesus was sending out His disciples, and He told them that if they went to a town and the people didn’t accept them, they should shake the dust off their feet and go to the next town.
What does that mean for Christians today? It means if someone doesn’t want to be helped, we can continue to pray on their behalf, but we are not obligated to try and change them.
The world is full of hungry, hurting, needy people who would love to get any little bit of love and encouragement you have to give them. So when one person rejects you, don’t let that stop you. Just do what Jesus did. Move on to the next person and the next person until somebody wants what you’ve got.
Now, there are going to be others in your life who love and appreciate you and won’t ever want you to leave their side because of who you are and what you do for them. And it’s tempting to stay around people like that because they genuinely care about you. But if you choose to stay in that same small circle, you won’t be able to reach out to others in need―and “on others” is where God wants our focus to be.
I think it would absolutely set the church on fire if every Christian would realize they have what it takes to make a difference in the lives of others.
Now, if you’re a new Christian, you should take some time to learn about who you are in Christ before you really start ministering to people. And those of us who do know the Word and who we are in Christ, it’s time to step up and say, “Okay, I’ve been in the Word and I’m filled up with it. Now it’s time for me to start giving out what God has given to me.”
Just as God said to Abraham, “I will bless you and I will make you a blessing, causing you to dispense good to others,” He will also do the same through us (see Genesis 12:2).
When you go to church, go with a purpose. Think about how you can help others and lift them up. Then go out armed and ready, prayed up and looking for someone to bless.
The truth is, if you will regularly reach out to help people, edify them, encourage them, and treat them the way you want to be treated, then you will be one of the happiest people in the world today.