04/16/Th – Familiarity

Leviticus 13:1-23; Mark 6:1-15; Psalms 39:6-13; Proverbs 13:7-8

NT: “He left there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. “Where did this man get these things?” they said. “What is this wisdom that has been given to him, and how are these miracles performed by his hands? Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And aren’t his sisters here with us?” So they were offended by him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his household.” He was not able to do a miracle there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he was amazed at their unbelief. He was going around the villages teaching.” (‭‭Mark‬ ‭6:1-6‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

There is an old saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” That is what happened to Jesus. Those whom He had grown up around, those who knew Him in His formative years where He had not yet come of age and was subject to His parents, could not see beyond the boy they knew Him as to see Him for who He truly was. There was so little faith in Him there, that His ability to minister was severely hindered. That can still be a challenge for many today. I would be considered someone who “grew up born again.” Since I was a new-born infant, my life has been spent around the church and hearing about Jesus. My father was a pastor, so as early as I can remember, I have seen the good and the bad of church life. I have seen God do wonderful and miraculous things, but I have also seen the ugly, petty, and downright evil things that “believers” can do when they are walking in the flesh, or may not even be saved at all. It would be very easy for my familiarity with the church and with people claiming to be believers, that I would have a contempt for all things Christian. Thankfully, the Lord has given me the grace to see beyond the carnal and see Jesus and His church for who they truly are. We can also allow familiarity to hinder us in trusting other people and seeing them released in their God-given calling. It would be very easy to hinder a young man or young woman from reaching their potential in the Lord because all we see them as is the immature child that used to get in trouble all the time. I have been in the same church family for 26 years now. Kids that I took care of in the church nursery are now leading impactful ministries in the church and around our city. Do I allow my familiarity with them keep me from honoring and respecting what God is doing in them now? Or do I see them as the gifted and anointed men and women of God that they truly are? Don’t let familiarity breed lack of faith. Don’t limit yourself to knowing someone merely in the flesh. Allow the Lord to open your eyes to see people, beyond just flesh and bone, for who they really are – for who His church really is – and for who He really is.

Proverbs: “One person pretends to be rich but has nothing; another pretends to be poor but has abundant wealth. Riches are a ransom for a person’s life, but a poor person hears no threat.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭13:7-8‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

The word “pretends” here can also be translated as “becomes” or “makes oneself.” Someone can focus on becoming wealthy, but in the end have nothing of value. Another person can choose to not make themselves wealthy and will end up with an abundance of things that truly matter. Someone who has made the accumulation of wealth the sum total of their lives will always live under the threat of losing what they have earned – they will always be subject to their things and can easily be manipulated by their fear of loss. On the other hand, those who count all things as loss for the riches of knowing Christ – those people will not be in bondage to their things and are free to follow Jesus wherever He would lead. Having material wealth is not wrong. Allowing materials to have you places you in bondage and hinders you from walking fully with the Lord.

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