Luke 2:16 (KJV) 16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
Jesus was described in no spectacular way; in fact, unlike Joseph and Mary, He was not even called by His Name. He was just referred to as babe. This doesn’t mean however that that’s all there is to Him. Jesus was way more than just an ordinary baby.
What we know about Jesus, and what others know about Jesus fail in comparison to who our precious Lord really is. Just because he was born humbly in a manger, just because he lived as a human being, just because he died, it doesn’t mean He is just an ordinary man. He is the king who came down from heaven. He lived as a man but he lived a victorious sinless life through 33 years of Him being here on Earth. He died a sacrificial death and paid for the sins of the whole world of all generations. And he is right now seated at the right hand of God the Father. He will come back as the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords to judge both the living and the dead. He will rule and reign over every tribe, every language, every nation—forever.
That’s our Jesus—and a lot more.
The description doesn’t define the person or create the substance. Others may perceive Him very lowly or unfavorably, but He is still the great He is. Same with us: others may look down on us and say all manners of evil against us, but we are who we are. We are not affected by people’s demeaning words if we don’t let them.
Matthew 17:27 (KJV) 27Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.
Even our Lord Jesus wanted not to offend anyone. Even when He had to sacrifice His right, even when they had to exert extra effort, even when they had to spend what they did not have to, Jesus willingly subjected Himself to all those just so that they don’t offend the authorities. He lived a perfect life; He cared for His Name, He needed to conduct Himself perfectly well, but He didn’t do what He did just for all those; He truthfully cared for others.
We as His people do the same. We exist for the pleasure of our God. He deserves more than all we are, all we have, and all we can give Him. The obvious truth is: we really can’t give Him anything. But He gives us that wonderful privilege of still “giving” and “offering” to Him. We want to follow His steps. This is one of those. Yes, we have rights and privileges. We can impose on them, but there’s a better way.
It’s best to live in such a way that we don’t become a stumblingblock to others. But there’s more. We live in such a way that we don’t offend others. This isn’t easy, but it’s in itself a privilege. And it isn’t really hard for God’s children who lives empowered by the Creator Himself to do all we ought to do. It takes much from us, but we’re willing. It’s a pleasure to work more, spend more, and sacrifice more. Why, because it’s our greatest pleasure to live for the pleasure of our Beloved.
Matthew 6:21 (KJV) 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Our minds and hearts are invested in God and heavenly thoughts. The more we do, the more we’re drawn to them. There really is no being, system or cause greater than God. He has no equal, no qualified rival. Strength, glory, honor, and supreme rulership belongs to Him. In His presence is fullness of love, joy, peace, and freedom. He frees us from all earthly worries and encourages us to focus on things that are eternal and heavenly.
Oh, to taste and see that the Lord is good; to know Him increasingly more; to know His face, His Word, His will, His ways, His works; to know the power of His resurrection, His Kingdom now, and His Kingdom to come—nothing beats or surpasses any of these in value. No, we’re not of those who are too heavenly minded and no earthly good. In fact, it is our being increasingly more God-minded and heavenly-minded that we become truly earthly good.
We’re not affected by people’s perception of us; we’re not affected by their lack of interest, their low estimation of us. We’re beyond that; we’re free from people’s opinions and influence. We serve God; we shine His light—not to elevate ourselves or to boast of how good we are, but to point them to God. We forgive those who wrong us; we love our enemies; we walk the extra mile, we bless those who curse us. Those we do because we’re not a part of the dog-eat-dog, “survival of the fittest” competition that the world has cruelly imprisoned and controlled people with. What matters is the infinitely more precious existence with our wonderful God now and in eternity.
Genesis 15:1 (KJV) After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
When our gracious God called the then pagan Abram, He made a very appealing promise – that He will make Abram a great nation; that He will bless Him; that He will make his name great; that Abram will be a blessing (see Gen. 12:2). But with all these amazing sovereign provisions, God presented Himself to the highly favored Abram as the best of all the offers. He will be Abram’s “exceeding great reward.”
Greater than becoming a great nation, greater than having a great name, greater than being a blessing – God is. Of all the bountiful blessings and benefits of being a believer, our Beloved beats the best of the best. if we may, He is the Best of the “best/s.” It is foolish to deny, reject or dismiss the amazing graces of God; it is also foolish to accept, embrace, and pursue them more than the God of grace. In what many believe as a noble posture of humility, some would innocently say that all they need is God; they don’t need or want His blessings. Conversely, in many cases of careless Christianity, some have gravitated towards the promises of God; they have forgotten the person of God. To reject what God offers is not humility; it may be ignorance, even pride. To miss God’s best offer is not gain; it’s to miss it all.
Dear God, our exceeding great Reward, may we be wise not to choose either You or Your blessings and reject either one or the other. May we receive everything You offer, but help us to wisely prioritize. May our hearts be single in longing for only You; may our hands be open in accepting all that’s Yours. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.