There are some people that my husband and I know that were just children when we met them and they are now married and have their own children. It certainly is strange when someone that you used to see running around has their own little ones running around. I think the thing that is stranger is the fact that it is hard to let go of the last image I had of them as a teenager who was acting like a teenager! Since that is my last image for some of them, you can see why it is hard for me to think of them as a responsible adult raising their own family and managing a career. But, it really doesn't matter if I can't picture it, it is happening! I'm sure you can relate to that as well. For me it comes from many angles - someone I used to babysit, a class I taught, relatives, and so on.
Jesus encountered people in His hometown that had similar struggles seeing Him grown up and teaching them. Matthew wrote about it in Matthew 13:53-58; please click on the link that will take you to those verses. Everywhere Jesus traveled and taught, that is the first encounter people had with Him so they could look at Him with authority. But, when He visited His hometown, people couldn't set aside the fact that He was the carpenter's son. How could the carpenter's son be an authority on scripture, and how could He possibly be the Messiah? These are the people who watched Him grow up and go through school and most of them couldn't set aside those images of Him. Unfortunately, we read how this also meant that they missed out on many blessings because of their lack of faith.
You have to admit that you have probably had a similar struggle with someone who maybe was in your Sunday School class and now they are teaching adult classes or leading a small group at your church. Think about this; we can know of someone who is a renown author or pastor who shares their struggles in their teenage or young adult lives. We can set that aside because our first image of them is of a well respected pastor. But, what about the people who were on the other side of their lives and saw them make those mistakes? It may not be as easy for them to set aside those images and think of them as a pastor. We all know someone who is doing something great that we would have never pictured doing great things. But God uses anyone who is willing to be used by Him. Just as the people in Nazareth couldn't set aside their childhood images as Jesus, we are susceptible to overlook people we've known for years. While the people in our lives are not the Messiah, they are people that God can use. We need to be careful to set aside our first impressions and give honor to those who are answering God's call and stepping in obedience.
Who do you know that God wants you to respect? Who is God using that you never would have imagined? Do you trust in God's mercy and grace enough to believe that He can and will use anyone who is willing to be used by Him?
This post is linked with Faith Filled Friday.