Jesus began His public ministry in Nazareth. It was the town where He grew up, where all His close friends and family lived―where any one of us would have expected plenty of hugs and hand claps of encouragement. But for Jesus, it was not a good experience.
The crowd was happy with Jesus’ teachings to a point, but when His words became a little more direct and corrective, the Bible says they became so enraged that they actually tried to kill Him (see Luke 4:28-29). Jesus didn’t even try to defend the validity of His ministry. Verse 30 says, But passing through their midst, He went on His way.
Now, the next place He went was Capernaum, where He preached to large crowds, performed miracles and cast out devils from among the people. And they were just so happy.
They said, “Stay with us, Jesus. This is Your spot!” Well, who wouldn’t want to stay where everybody loves and appreciates you? But Jesus didn’t hang around there either because He knew there were others who needed to hear His message.
There’s a major lesson to be learned here: Jesus wasn’t moved by people’s rejection nor was He moved by their acceptance. He was moved by the Spirit of God.
If you can learn how to follow God whether you’re accepted or rejected, you’re well on your way to fulfilling the call of God on your life to reach out to others.
Don’t Let Rejection Get You Off Course
If you’ve ever tried to help someone who didn’t really want to be helped then you’re in good company. And you have a golden opportunity to learn how to know when to break free from the burden of false responsibility.
In Matthew 10, Jesus was sending out His disciples, and He told them that if they went to a town and the people didn’t accept them, they should shake the dust off their feet and go to the next town.
What does that mean for Christians today? It means if someone doesn’t want to be helped, we can continue to pray for them, but we are not obligated to try and change them.
The world is full of hungry, hurting, needy people who would love to get any little bit of love and encouragement you have to give them. So when one person rejects you, don’t let that stop you. Just do what Jesus did: Keep moving on until somebody wants what you’ve got.
Know When to Move On
Now, there are going to be others in your life who love and appreciate you and won’t ever want you to leave their side because of who you are and what you do for them. It’s tempting to stay around people like that because they genuinely care about you.
But if you choose to stay in that same small circle, you won’t be able to reach out to others in need―and that’s where God wants our focus to be.
Get Prepped to Follow God’s Lead
It’s critically important to know who we are in Christ and how to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as we start reaching out to people. We can’t give away what we don’t have, so we have to be filled up with the love of God and get grounded in His Word before we can start sharing what God has given to us.
Just as God said to Abraham, “I will bless you and I will make you a blessing, causing you to dispense good to others," He will also do the same through us (see Genesis 12:2).
Pursue your relationship with God more than anything else and ask Him to show you how you can help others and lift them up.
If you will make it a habit to help people, encourage them, and treat them the way you want to be treated, then you will show God’s love in ways that really matter.