Many years ago, when much of the earth was yet unknown, an explorer who had spent years at sea was weary and ready to return home. His long walk from the harbor took him to a sight that had only been a dream. There in the distant valley was his village. “I’m finally here! Thank you, God!” he exclaimed. Reading again the words in a letter from his family and friends, “We’re waiting for your soon arrival!” he hurried on.
Home at last, he did what he had been taught from childhood, “Always knock with your foot,” his parents had told him, “because your arms will be carrying many gifts!” So he did, because, indeed, many gifts he had brought.
The door flew open. Lively music poured forth like water, singing and dancing broke loose. He mingled with the crowd, telling with excitement all the things that he had seen on his many adventures.
But then, a very strange thing happened. “Stand over here,” they said. “Let’s look at what you’ve brought.” They examined one gift and said, “We don’t like this one. Put it outside.” And so it was with each one. After all the gifts were outside, they exclaimed, “We want you outside, too! You’re different from what we thought you would be.”
With a heavy heart, he said to his family and friends on the other side of the closed door, “I wish that this had not been so.” Picking up his gifts, he made his way to other villages, where he found people who received him and his gifts with gladness.
The man who knocked on the door with his foot was like Jesus.
He came from heaven to His home on earth bearing gifts. Talk about an extraordinary arrival…
Angels were deployed for the most important assignments of their careers.
Stars were activated.
Prophecies were satisfied.
One would think that with such an arrival, his people, the entire nation of Israel would open their arms when Jesus came to their door. But, strangely, they didn’t receive him as one of their own, much less as their Savior. They rejected him and the gifts that he brought. At the end of his life, at the cross, just a handful believed in him for who he was. Yet, he was successful. He had fulfilled his purpose.
What can we learn from Jesus?
You may have come to your family, your school, your people, your neighborhood, your place of employment, your marriage, with great expectations. You knocked with your foot, wanting your gifts to be received as a blessing. But, they’ve been rejected. Perhaps you have also been rejected. What do you do? Here are a couple of thoughts that we learn from Jesus.
1. Be yourself, the person you were made to be. Jesus rejected rejection of who he was. For example, it didn’t matter if people rejected him as a qualified Rabbi because of his socio-economic status (the carpenter’s son), or his cultural identity (from Nazareth), or his spiritual self-identification as the Bread of Life that came down from heaven. He knew which words were true of who he was, and he lived by those words. The words that others used of him had no effect on the truth of who he was.
2. Stay focused on your purpose. Jesus knew that his name meant “Savior” and that the cross was his destination. He came to seek and to save those who were lost in life without him. Interestingly, it was because he had a life-style of “enduring pain” and “rejecting shame” that he was prepared for his divine mission on the cross, paying the price for saving us from our sins.
Who were you made to be? What are the talents and spiritual gifts that come naturally to you, with which you want to bless others? What is your purpose? Is it one of the roles you have – such as a spouse, parent, follower, leader, administrator, counselor, or teacher? Know yourself and stay faithful to who you are.
No matter the setting where you are with others, be yourself and fulfill your purpose. Offer your gifts. Keep on knocking and offering to those who will receive.