Here's another great devotional from my friend Stephen Weber (pictured with daughter Ester and wife Brooksyne) of Daily Encouragement (see link at the right under "ministries"). I'm glad I'm playing for Coach Shepherd!
"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God" (Romans 15:7)
One afternoon, as a chaplain, I was visiting the employees in a company that uses a lot of pallet jacks. It is very common to see "Pickers" dart about the huge warehouse loading pallets. On this particular visit one of the pickers had a large, orange "REJECTED!" sticker plastered on her green jumpsuit. (The rejected sticker was intended for use on boxes of materials that had been rejected.) Apparently a co-worker had placed it on her friend's jumpsuit as a joke and I don't think she even realized it was there.
But it got me thinking. How many people often feel rejected by others? How many have experienced rejection by significant people in their lives? Though they don't wear a visual banner declaring "REJECTED" it's visible in their expressions and their communication is often accompanied by a downward cast. Certainly a lot of people have experienced rejection repeatedly, including some of you reading this today.
Chris Maxwell is a pastor friend of mine who lives in Georgia who also has a writing ministry. I sure appreciated a message he shared using an analogy from the sports world. I believe it will bless daily encouragement readers today as well.
A team I play for is going to win. The Owner knew I wasn't the best available free agent, but signed me anyway. He does that for many players. The team strategy is something like "Whosoever wants to play for us, we will sign."
Critics have called our team many names - "Failures", "Scrubs", "Losers". "Rejects". But Coach Shepherd says our team name, "Sheep", is a good fit. He treats us like we are really His Sheep. Our franchise has a promise of guaranteed eternal success! That fact can help us sleep no matter the score of any one game.
How do I know the eventual outcome? I read an advanced copy of the press release. 'No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever' (Revelation 22:3-5). Cursed no longer. Cured. Let that be our team!
Consider the phrase in the daily Scripture verse, "just as Christ accepted you." What a glorious truth it is to be accepted by Christ and become part of His family. Whether or not we have known the acceptance and support of a loving family or faithful friends, when we come to God in faith and repentance we are accepted. He has said, "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away" (John 6:37).
We are all welcome into God's family…and this by His marvelous grace! Be encouraged today, Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, You have shown us through the example of Jesus that we are to accept others in the same way that He accepted us. Show us ways that we can effectively reach out to others, especially those who feel rejected by family or society as a whole. Help us to show them genuine love and to initiate a friendship in the same way that Jesus reached out to many people groups and befriended them. As we do this, in obedience to your command and as we are led by Christ's example, Scripture indicates that we bring praise to You which is our heart's desire. Amen.