Summary: How should we deal with or respond to rejection? It’s a very good question especially when it comes to the Church.
The now infamous Lance Armstrong once said, “A boo is a lot louder than a cheer.” And he actually hit the nail on the head, because no one wants to be rejected. It can make you come to the conclusion Oprah Winfrey came to when she said, “I don’t want anyone who doesn’t want me” because no one wants the door slammed in their face. But have you ever considered the fact that rejection in itself can help you to grow spiritually? If you’ve ever been rejected you are on the list with people like Thomas Edison who was told by his teachers that he “was too stupid to learn anything” and Albert Einstein who did not speak until he was four; did not read until he was seven and his teachers actually dismissed him as being mentally handicapped. And more up to date you have joined the likes of Mr. Bill Gates, who dropped out of Harvard; his first company failed miserably but now his Microsoft Company is a global giant.
How should we deal with or respond to rejection? It’s a very good question especially when it comes to the Church. I have my own personal example; I moved from my hometown and joined a rather large Church in another city. At first, the pastor appeared to be very receptive of my family and me; he allowed me to preach to his congregation and afterwards mistakenly assumed that I was out to take the Church that he pastors. For next two years I was rejected by this particular pastor who is actually a very powerful and sought after preacher who should not consider me to be a threat in the least, it would only be in my dreams that I should preach in the manner he preaches.
One of the reasons I wanted to join the Church he pastored is because I thought I could learn a lot about the art of preaching from him. But nonetheless I was rejected, what was my response? I sought God’s Word and I prayed vigorously about it—no, I didn’t take my ball and go home. I stayed there in this particular Church and endured all the rejection I had coming to me because I realized that it was not coming from flesh and blood, I realized that it was the devil’s attempt to make me give up all together. Sometimes we are rejected because of an anointing that we have been given, sometimes it has nothing to do with you; it’s simply because you have something that others want.
Rejection is one of the devil’s favorite tools to use against people. He’s always going about planting seeds of rejection, but the devil is a liar because he really has no power over us when we know who we are in Christ. The old folk used to say that, “God doesn’t make any junk” and the text deals with our response to being rejected and gives us some insight as to how we can and should deal with it. In the text, Jesus goes back to preach and teach in his own hometown, and the people there—his own neighbors—refuse to accept his teaching. Mind you, it’s not like they aren’t listening to the message—they are. They acknowledge that he is speaking with wisdom and acting with power, but they reject him anyway! They got hung up over His social status. They were no different than today’s Church because in today’s Church social status is a big thing, in fact it is a very very big thing.
Some people today join churches because of the popularity of the pastor and never mind his character; they just want the privilege of saying that my pastor is Rev. Dr. so and so; he’s known all over the United States, he has PhD in this and PhD in that . Some people today join churches because of the high profile membership of that particular Church, because of all the doctors and lawyers, etc. who are in attendance there. Jesus was just a carpenter’s son; He was not a part of the Pharisee, He was not considered among the upper class and most of the people He hung out with were fishermen. His credentials were not good enough for them and so they rejected Him. In fact they knew Him when..., usually you don’t have much a chance with people knew you when..., you’re plain old Joe to them.
Here He was in the synagogue, a carpenter trying to teach us something about God and Law? Must have been the prevalent thought among those in attendance, it’s true today that many people judge others by their education, success, achievement, name, wealth, prestige, roots, fame, position, and heritage. And Jesus’ humble beginning was just not good enough for them. To them, He had an average father (Joseph) with an average mother (Mary) neither parent had achieved any prominence nor have any of their children risen above any of the other children there in Nazareth. How could Jesus possibly be who He was claiming to be: the Messiah, God’s very own Son? The Bible says that, “He was in the world, and though the world was made by Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.” And so if you have ever been rejected you are not only listed among Edison, Einstein, and Gates—you are listed with the Savior of the world, the Son of God Himself!