Thanksgiving has passed but the truth I have learned from this past week has absolutely nothing to do with Thankfulness. The truth I learned was where my true validation should come from.
I have spent years, decades, feeling like I never measured up. I have went through periods of depression and self loathing. I grew up under the “spiritual truths” that God is a God of judgement. Women were considered beneath men and of little worth. It was not just my church but the mistaken belief of many other churches in the Anabaptist movement. Those who tried to teach that God was a God of Love and Acceptance were virtually shunned and criticized. Do not misunderstand, not every church in that movement as well as others falls under this, but several do. There have been so many misquotes of the Bible in the interest of tradition that it is no small wonder that people have left in search of something more.
They would tell us to stay away from those things that are worldly….. that those things are shameful and yet time and time again Jesus Christ himself did exactly what these people condemned.
Then Jesus went again to walk alongside the lake. Again a crowd came to him, and he taught them. Strolling along, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, at his work collecting taxes. Jesus said, “Come along with me.” He came.
Later Jesus and his disciples were at home having supper with a collection of disreputable guests. Unlikely as it seems, more than a few of them had become followers. The religion scholars and Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company and lit into his disciples: “What kind of example is this, acting cozy with the riffraff?”
Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting the sin-sick, not the spiritually-fit.”
By this time a lot of men and women of doubtful reputation were hanging around Jesus, listening intently. The Pharisees and religion scholars were not pleased, not at all pleased. They growled, “He takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends.” Their grumbling triggered this story.
“Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.
It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
Taking a good look at them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”
They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus said, “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?” Then he said to him, “Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.”
Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way—he was a short man and couldn’t see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by.
When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.” Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, “What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?”
Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, “Master, I give away half my income to the poor—and if I’m caught cheating, I pay four times the damages.”
Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.”
This past week as I was learning the hard lesson about not expecting our validation to come from man but from God, I learned that my self-worth was not also dependent upon any one man or woman as well. God has MY name tattooed on His Palm. No man has or ever will do that. God loves me so much His Son died for me. No man or woman has ever done that either. If I choose to wait for man’s approval, I am wasting my time….. Time that God could be using to do a good work through me…. and He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6)
I had been trying to use another host to monetize my blog, but have not had much time to make it work. Unfortunately I lacked the support I needed to make it work and was dealing with extreme negative opposition. I am hoping to some day move back to my own domain but, until then, God will be my main support through expressing myself.