As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. (Luke 9:51-53)
Have you ever been ostracized by others because they didn’t like where you were going? Have you ever been ridiculed, shunned, or simply ignored because people around you disliked the spiritual direction you’re your life was going? If so, you’re in extremely good company.
The Samaritans, in this village, rejected Jesus for one main reason—religious pride. They were prejudiced against anyone who didn’t believe like them, and their elitist attitude caused them to miss out on a move of God in their lives and in their city. It’s sad when you consider what could have happened in their town had they welcomed Jesus. The blind would have received sight, the lame would have walked, various kinds of terrible diseases would have been cured and the Good News would have been preached to many needy souls. Yet it was not to happen. Their religious pride kept Jesus away. They slammed the door in the face of God!
“You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” —Jesus (Revelations 3:17)
How about you? Is your heart open to Jesus doing a something different in your life even though you may not like where He wants to take you? Or do you have a Samaritan heart? Are you allowing a religious elitist attitude rob you of experiencing all that God has for you? Are you full of religious pride? Do you think that you have it all together and those “other churches” have nothing to offer you? After all, “we do not need a thing”. Besides, they don’t have the real truth like our church does.
We must understand that none of us has the market cornered on truth, although many of us act like we do. When we start thinking that we’ve arrived at some exclusive spiritual plateau, and no one outside our group of religious elitists can teach us anything. That’s when we’ve shut the door in God’s face. Our religious pride then declares, “I have arrived! There’s no need for me to go where you’re going. I’m already here. See-ya…wouldn’t want to be-ya!!!” SLAM!!!
Yet they did not listen or pay attention; they were stiff-necked and would not listen or respond to discipline. (Jeremiah 17:23)
This describes the way I use to be. Everyone else was wrong. I was right! I was blind to the fact that my religious pride was crippling me. I would only travel within the parameters of my particular denomination. Oh, I had friends that were from other churches (the poor deceived things), but I was constantly sparking off a debate with them. It wasn’t for the purpose of engaging in a polite exchange of ideas. Oh no! I had to change their minds (the poor deceived things). I didn’t like where they were going and I had to point out how wrong they were and help them go the right way. You know… my way
It turns out that I was the poor deceived thing. I was the one who didn’t know how wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked I was. The denominational sign on my church had become a STOP sign. I didn’t travel beyond it and judged anyone who dared to do so. Indeed, I was wretched beyond words and didn’t know it.
Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. (Romans 14:4)
However, God eventually got my attention and broke through the religious veneer covering my heart. I repented of my religious pride and He forgave me. That started me on an incredible spiritual journey that has taken me to new heights I never dreamed of before. My heart is now open to whatever God wants to do in me.
How about you? Do you have a Samaritan heart? Have you been slamming the door in God’s face? If so now is the time to repent and get yourself ready, for Jesus is coming to your town.