“I’m sure you’ve heard the expression about killing the messenger because you don’t like the message.”
“Heard it and experienced it!” I responded. “Not literally killing the messenger, but certainly being displeased with someone because of what he or she had to tell me. It’s important for me to focus on the message, not on the messenger.”
“Exactly,” Stan replied. “And I saw something similar in Mark’s gospel earlier this morning.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Jesus was in His hometown teaching in the synagogue. The people were amazed at His teaching, but it is also recorded that they were offended by Him.”
“Offended by Jesus?” I replied. “How foolish is that?”
“That’s another subject for another day,” Stan replied, “but the point here is that the people were amazed at Jesus’ teaching; they liked the message, but they didn’t like the messenger. They took offense because they saw Jesus as just a carpenter, just a local who was a son and brother of people they knew.”
Continuing, he said, “They did not see Jesus as the Messenger, with a capital ‘M’, who had everything for them to hear. They lost sight of the message because of a wrong attitude about who was delivering the message.”
“For me,” Stan added, “this is a vital lesson to keep my spiritual ears open to what God has to tell me through whatever means He wants to use. I am not to miss out on something the Lord God Almighty has for me just because of a wrong attitude about how or through whom the message is delivered.”
Concluding, he added, “I am to be open to the message God has for me. Period.”
And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him. Mark 6:2, 3.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that you want me to hear, receive, and embrace all you have for me. I confess that too often I am not as open as you intend for me to know all you have for me because I am too focused on the messenger rather than the message; I am too focused on my self-focused preconceptions of how and through whom you will speak to me. Please forgive me. And please, Lord, Lead me in being totally open, just as you intend, so I will always hear your message, regardless of how and through whom or what you choose to deliver it. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.