Then Jesus told them, "A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family."
- Mark 6:4 NLT
This verse has encouraged my heart many times when I've been hurt by the way my loved ones reacted to my commitment to God. The Bible reveals that some of Jesus' friends and family were not the least bit impressed with His ministry or His accomplishments. In fact, Scripture reveals that his own family thought he was "out of his mind". (Mark 3:21) Jesus was misunderstood because of His devotion to the Father, and His dedication to the work His Father assigned Him. Why should we be surprised when our loved ones don't understand our commitment to God? The apostle Paul was often misunderstood, too. In 2 Corinthians 5:13 he says, "If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God." Seems to me that if people think we have lost our minds because of our love for God, we're in good company.
The truth is that when we decide to live for God, people are not always going to understand or respect us for it. Paul explains why: "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14) Now that we have the Holy Spirit living in us, we are able to see things from God's perspective. The way we view things will often be radically different than the way others do, and because of that, our priorities will be different. Have you ever accomplished something wonderful for God, and then been met with indifference and disinterest from your friends and loved ones? I have. It can turn our joy into hurt and frustration pretty quickly. Some time ago, I gained some media attention because of my work for the Lord. Some of my friends and family were not the least bit impressed. What bothered me most was knowing that if I had been in the public eye because of a sports-related achievement, or because I wrote romance novels, they would have been thrilled. But because I was being recognized for my service to God, they held no esteem for my accomplishments. That was a painful realization for me. Since then, I've decided to serve the Lord with all my heart, even if no one else cares. Paul's words in Philippians 3:13-14 have been a great inspiration to me--"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." I'm going on with God. How about you?
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the opportunities You've given me to serve You. Help me to remember that when others don't respect or honor my service to You, it doesn't diminish its value or usefulness in Your sight. Today I renew my wholehearted commitment to You, and I ask You to use me in new and exciting ways for Your glory!
- J. M. Farro