MARK 6:4-6: “But Jesus told them, “The only place a prophet isn’t honored is in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his own house.” He couldn’t work any miracles there except to lay his hands on a few sick people and cure them. Their unbelief amazed him. Then Jesus went around to the villages and taught.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Am I looking at God’s answer to my prayers without knowing it? How many times do I walk right by what the Lord has provided because I am looking for something that fits my description, or follows the chain of events that I have crafted in my own mind, and miss the blessing and open door that is standing right before me? This is what happened to the people in Jesus hometown. Their unbelief amazed Him!
The Jews in Nazareth were no doubt waiting for the Messiah, just like all the other Jews in the surrounding towns and villages. I am sure that each one of them had their own idea of how the Messiah would come, or what he would look like. Having grown up with Jesus, living in the same neighborhood, working on the same jobs, eating at the same table, they could not see past their familiarity into God’s anointing and purpose. Their self imposed expectations blinded them from seeing the very one they were waiting for.
Jesus responded – “The only place a prophet isn’t honored is in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his own house.” What does that mean to us practically? How can I apply this understanding to my own life? I have found that God’s answer to my prayers does not usually come from the place I expect it to come. It is usually found right where I am planted, within the people I serve, and in the seeds I already hold in my hand. What I need is eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart that is ready to receive the answer from the Lord, and not allow my expectations to blind me and hinder my faith.
A few years ago in our church family we were looking to hire a youth pastor to help us in our ministry to the youth. Our leadership team joined with me in prayer, and I began to network the need among the churches in our area, along with reaching out to Christ for the Nations and posting this ministry opening on their career site. I met and interviewed with many young men and women who even took the next step and visited the church to see if this was where they felt the Lord calling them. In all of these cases they said they loved our church, but did not sense the Lord calling them to serve with us. What was wrong? I continued to pray.
When I was just about to give up, a young man who was already a part of our church family, and who had been struggling with the call of God for the entire time we were looking to “outsource” this ministry need, approached me on a Sunday morning. He shared his struggle, and asked if we could meet to talk about what the Lord was speaking to his heart. When we met it was immediately evident that this was the Lord’s answer to our prayer. He had been among us all the time, but both he and the church did not see it because we were looking beyond that which we were familiar. Our youth ministry has doubled and continues to thrive under the leadership of this young man. His leadership was God’s answer, God’s provision – and we all almost missed it!
I wonder what answers to prayers are already present in our lives if we will open our eyes in faith to look right where we are standing, to see what we already hold in our hand? Like a farmer, God has given us each seed to sow. We can look upon the harvests fields of others and long to have a crop from afar. Or, we can sow the seed in our own hands, upon our knees in fervent prayer, in sincere worship, and with eyes of faith. Nazareth missed the blessings and power of their Messiah because they could not see past the Carpenter. Lord, open our eyes so we can see the open door of provision and blessing that stands before us. Open our eyes to see You!
In Jesus Name!