If you are looking for answers or need to “find yourself”, you do not need to go too far, most of what you need is in your back yard. Boring? probably. Convenient? definitely. Here is how it works:
Human nature is quirky. We entrust our children to relative strangers, but we do not entrust our children to people we know (sometimes with good reason). We will not lend ten bucks to our sister, but we entrust our life savings to a broker we just met.
The reason is found in the English saying; “familiarity breeds contempt.” Once the honeymoon period in any relationship is over, we begin to notice the flaws. Eventually the other person disappoints us and we downgrade them to part-of-the-furniture status. The thrill is gone, the relationship requires effort and we cease to take them as seriously as we used to, hence familiarity.
If this has happened to you, you are in good company, it happened to Lord Jesus as well.
But let’s forget about how done-in we are, if it’s human nature, chances are you are doing the same (unless of course you are an alien. If you are an alien, welcome to Earth, please excuse the mess).
Throw Jesus off the cliff.
Apparently, if the Romans heard rebellion was brewing in a town, they would burn that place to the ground.
In Luke 4 (also Matthew 13 and Mark 6), Lord Jesus goes to His old neighborhood Nazareth. He reads from Isaiah, says some things and next minute the homies try to throw Him off a cliff (best church service ever).
At first the Nazarenes liked what Lord Jesus was doing and saying. However, my guess is that some local opportunists became jealous and ruined it for everyone.
In the eyes of those that benefited from the status quote, Lord Jesus challenged two authorities 1) Their Jewish Law based culture and 2) The Romans. He said that in their hearing, the prophecy of liberty to the captives was fulfilled (they thought liberty from Rome, He had a much bigger agenda).
Instead of looking at the great things Lord Jesus was doing and saying, some became threatened, refused to adapt and reacted badly. They probably created fear that the Romans would raze their village as well as fear of the Jewish authorities. Those that created the fear also created the solution i.e. throw Jesus off a cliff, a solution that fortunately did not work.
Local is not lekker.
The main point is said by Lord Jesus; “no prophet is accepted in his own country.” or “a prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.”
In Luke He expands this concept and says, (paraphrased). “Any Jewish widow could have gone to Elijah for help during the drought of his time. Any Jewish lepers could have gone to Elisha for healing. However, these Jewish prophets ended up helping a gentile widow and healing an invading armies general because the local Jews did not honor the prophets available to them.”
In the same way, when Lord Jesus ministered in His hometown, some people recognized Him and said things like; “isn’t this that carpenter? I remember Him when He was a kid, He’s half my age, who does He think He is? He’s not a Priest, who died and left Him in charge?” Their familiarity robbed them.
We all do the same. It’s easy to accept advice, prayer, prophecy, teaching etc from outsiders, however, it’s somehow difficult to receive from those with whom we are familiar.
There’s treasure everywhere.
So we have a choice; find answers in distant places at great cost and effort (sounds exciting), find answers locally (less exciting) or both.
The truth is that we cannot up anchor and go on pilgrimage every time we need answers. This is why God gave us local talent i.e., those in our ‘own country and of your own house.’ This includes your spouse, children, parents, relatives and the weird auntie at church. It’s not about them, it’s about God in them.
The army says – salute the rank, not the person. Lets give honor where honor is due, especially locally.
One day God is going to ask us what we did with what He gave us.
What He gave us is what we have in our hands now. So lets speak to people and find out where their faith lies, some have faith for healing or prophecy or prosperity. Others easily reach out to the lost, some have strategic vision and leadership. You will be surprised how many creative people surround you and practical people who can get things done and so on.
Lets cultivate and honor the gifts in ourselves, our families and communities. The more we honor and cultivate these treasures the more we build The Kingdom.