Thursday, September 11, 2008

Despised Yet Chosen

Despise, condemn, disdain, abhor, detest, disregard, hate, loathe.... I'm sure that everyone reading this article has at some point in their lives been treated badly by someone because they have felt one of the above towards you. It breaks my heart to hear stories of how people were bullied or mocked and no one stood with them. They were left to bear the pain, stigma and shame alone. When we hear some of the names people have been called it almost always boils down to one thing.....that person doesn't meet up to the world's standards of beauty, therefore they are the perfect targets for the bully. Granted, (and let me stress this point) some are actually bullied out of jealousy for their looks but in this article I want to look at those who, in the world's eyes are despised for not meeting its standards for worth. But we as Christians are reassured and know that this world's standard of "True Beauty" is not the same as God's.

I can speak from experience because I have been called names at school. If you look at those names then you can probably guess what "standards" I didn't meet. OK, for those of you reading who know me from school, you'll remember, I'm sure, what one of those names were.......Yes that's right, I became known as "Casper". Casper as in the friendly ghost because I have a very pale skin tone. Others of you reading may remember what or who you've been likened to. But we as Christians are reassured and know that this world's standard of "True Beauty" is not the same as God's. At this point we recall the verses of scripture in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (Emphasis Mine);

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

We see here that God chooses the weak, foolish and the base "according to worldly standards". The world will mock, laugh, and scorn all the more saying surely God would have chosen the strong, the wise and those of high estate to make the gospel more attractive and spread more quickly and effectively. They would not only choose so, but it would also apply all its "gimmicks". Yet, I must point out now, that what is fascinating today is that the world doesn't even think beauty is beautiful enough when they touch up photos using computer technology. Its standard therefore is a lie; it's unattainable and therefore will always bring misery to those pursuing it.Few of distinguished rank and character were called to be Christians.

But God chose otherwise "to convey the treasure of saving knowledge to the world". Matthew Henry does a wonderful job of expounding the above verses so I will quote him here:

None of the famous men for wisdom or eloquence were employed to plant the church or propagate the gospel. A few fishermen were called out, and sent upon this errand. These were commissioned to disciple the nations: these vessels chosen to convey the treasure of saving knowledge to the world. There was nothing in them that at first view looked grand or august enough to come from God; and the proud pretenders to learning and wisdom despised the doctrine for the sake of those who dispensed it. And yet the foolishness of God is wiser than men, v. 25. Those methods of divine conduct that vain men are apt to censure as unwise and weak have more true, solid, and successful wisdom in them, than all the learning and wisdom that are among men: "You see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called, v. 26, etc. You see the state of Christianity; not many men of learning, or authority, or honourable extraction, are called.’" There is a great deal of meanness and weakness in the outward appearance of our religion. But God seeth not as man seeth. For, (1.) Few of distinguished character in any of these respects were chosen for the work of the ministry. God did not choose philosophers, nor orators, nor statesmen, nor men of wealth and power and interest in the world, to publish the gospel of grace and peace. Not the wise men after the flesh, though men would apt to think that a reputation for wisdom and learning might have contributed much to the success of the gospel. Not the mighty and noble, however men might be apt to imagine that secular pomp and power would make way for its reception in the world. But God seeth not as man seeth. He hath chosen the foolish things of the world, the weak things of the world, the base and despicable things of the world, men of mean birth, of low rank, of no liberal education, to be the preachers of the gospel and planters of the church. His thoughts are not as our thoughts, nor his ways as our ways. He is a better judge than we what instruments and measures will best serve the purposes of his glory. (2.) Few of distinguished rank and character were called to be Christians. As the teachers were poor and mean, so generally were the converts. Few of the wise, and mighty, and noble, embraced the doctrine of the cross. The first Christians, both among Jews and Greeks, were weak, and foolish, and base; men of mean furniture as to their mental improvements, and very mean rank and condition as to their outward estate; and yet what glorious discoveries are there of divine wisdom in the whole scheme of the gospel, and in this particular circumstance of its success!

Consider, for a moment, what happens to the remnant pieces of fabric in the craft/fabric stores. All the fabrics are in rolls, placed in such a position where the customer can see them. But almost always you will find a box on the floor with bundles of remnant pieces of fabric on sale for giveaway prices. Now many would have no use for these small pieces. But every now and then a individual will come in solely for what is to them much prized pieces! That person will take these pieces home and after hours of loving labour these pieces are now one...one big beautiful piece of patchwork! This is very much like how we are after God chooses us, those discarded pieces, and lovingly works on us, transforming us. I likened these pieces (see here) as the fruits of the Spirit sown together to form a beautiful garment of Grace. It is these graces worked in us by the Holy Spirit that are transforming us to Christ's likeness and that is God's standard for us. So we may be despised in the worlds eyes but we have been chosen and saved by Gods amazing Grace!

As I bring this post to a close I want to show why God chooses those He does. 1 Corinthians 1:29 has the answer:

so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

Everything that we have is a gift from God. There is nothing we can boast about. Our looks, no matter how imperfect by the world's standards, are from God, the ability to work, to think, everything! And even when we are limited physically, and feel totally useless, as we surrender our lives totally to God the Father, He will use us for His Glory! God is so good and so wise! When we do have a moment and find ourselves focusing in on our imperfections think on these words from Robert Murray M'Cheyne:

"For every look at self, take ten looks at Christ."




Reference


Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible. Can be accessed Here.

4 comments:

Jennifer said...

Geraldine wrote: Yet, I must point out now, that what is fascinating today is that the world doesn't even think beauty is beautiful enough when they touch up photos using computer technology. Its standard therefore is a lie; it's unattainable and therefore will always bring misery to those pursuing it.

Wow! This is an amazing observation and gives new meaning to the idea of "vanity" in the book of Ecclesiastes. Also reminds me of Proverbs 27:20 -- Hell and destruction are never full; So the eyes of man are never satisfied," (KJV).

Jean Gasho-Musuka said...

I can relate to what you said Geraldine. I never came from a rich family and at school I was teased because of my family background. I will put it this way, it wasnt the most noble family, and everyone knew about it. I was a laughing stock to many. At times I used to wish I came from a rich family so I would have more friends at school and be more popular. I hated my life as a child, I envied other kids, and I thought life was not fair. But when God saved me my whole thinking changed. To think he chooses the most despised by the world, and he saves them is beyond my own understanding, yet I did nothing to deserve salvation. He didnt chose me because I was a rug to many people, but He chose me because He is love and I am unworthy. It makes me appreciate the love of the Father even more.

Jennifer said...

It has come to my attention that another blogger has quoted Geraldine's words on his or her blog and attributed them to Jean Gasho-Musuka instead. Please be advised that this blog is owned and solely operated by myself. Any references made to this blog MUST be properly credited to the authors. In this case, Geraldine has been misquoted and I respectfully ask that blogger to correct this error. If there are any questions, please let me know in reply to this comment.

Thank you,
Jennifer

Jennifer said...

Many thanks to the aforementioned blogger for making the requested correction! :)