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August 26, 2005


I recall a trip to Nazareth that Jesus made in which the scripture records, "And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief." This is an account in the life of Jesus that puzzles me. How is it that Jesus' powers were restricted because the hometown folk did not believe in him? He was Jesus, certainly he did not need the approval of others to work miracles or did he? The scripture puzzles me because I cannot picture Jesus being restricted. I like Eugene Peterson's paraphrase of this, "He didn't do many miracles there because of their hostile indifference." Maybe Jesus was restricted because the people just ignored him even though he had much to offer.

Have you ever wanted to desperately help someone and they were either indifferent toward you or refused your counsel and best efforts to help them in a constructive way? There you stand helpless and feeling at a loss for a proper response. Parents often experience this with their children. We all experience this with a sibling or a close friend. Pastors experience this with members and members experience this with pastors.

It is interesting that neither Jesus nor Matthew gives us any advice as to how to handle this. The only message I receive from this is that Jesus left Nazareth and maybe that is what we are to do. We may need to simply offer and when our offer is refused we need to accept the person's response to our answer and walk a way. The only other option is for us to begin to pray that God intervenes. The Holy Spirit can often do what we can never do. There may also be times when the timing is just not right and we may need to wait for the appropriate time.

The real challenge here is dealing with our own feelings of helplessness. This is when we must find a way through communion with God in prayer, fasting, speaking with others and scripture reading to accept that this is "Holy Spirit Time" and not our time.

Think about it. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Posted by Bishop at August 26, 2005 09:42 AM


I worked with a very talented engineer at a manufacturing facility. He had brilliant ideas about improving efficiencies, reducing costs, and product design improvements. The problem was that the folks who approved or disapproved any changes were not as talented or as innovative in their thinking. It never ceased to amaze me that our engineer's ideas were largely ignored.

I asked him if he ever go tired of going through the exercise. He replied with a great analogy. "If you buy a dog, you have several responsibilities. You must feed the dog and give it water. Whether or not the dog chooses to eat and drink is up to the dog. If the dog chooses not to and gets sick, you have the responsibility to take it to the veterinarian and see if it has worms or another illness causing it not to eat. If upon examination you find out the dog is healthy, you might try different food. But if the dog continues to choose not to eat, and you are putting out food and water every day, one of two things will happen. The dog will either get so hungry that it will eat, or it will continue to be stubborn and die. Everytime I suggest an improvement, I have put the food out there. Whether or not they choose to eat it is not up to me, but I sleep well knowing I have fulfilled my responsibility."

As long as we continue to "put out the food and water", we can sleep knowing we are fulfilling our call. It grieves us when folks don't eat and drink, but that cannot keep us from continuing to seek out others who are just as hungry and thirsty for Christ. Keep on feeding!

Posted by: Gregg Bostick [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 7, 2005 09:47 AM