Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Ugly Duckling Syndrome or Always Chosen last

Just sitting here thinking back to my youth…. On the playground…… kickball, basketball, baseball, football, any other sport going on…. Thinking about how it was being the last one picked for a team or being the odd person out and not being picked at all. Things like that follow a person through their whole life and help shape them into the person they become.

Some people strive to become better at a chosen sport or activity in order that they will then not be left out or be embarrassed by being the last one chosen. Is there anything wrong with that? I guess it depends on the reasoning behind it. Do they want to fit in because they desire what someone else has, in this case a relationship with other people. Or are they actually trying to better themselves? In most cases it is probably to fit in, to not be left out, to not be ridiculed, to be liked, etc.

If it is to fit in then they are in affect trying to be something they aren’t in order to gain favor with a particular person or group of people. Is that a good thing? I would say not. My reasoning, because they would then be living a lie and emulating the others instead of being their own person.

So how does this have to do with Christianity, or better yet the church? Glad you asked. So many times people get side tracked into areas where they are trying to serve someone other than God. This could be a great mission, if it weren’t for the motives behind it. I have seen many people do things they did not want to do in order to make themselves look better, make someone else happy or not get a bad reputation for doing them. All of which are wrong reasons for doing anything within a Christian body of believers.

1 Cor. 3:11-15 lays this out for us. Any works that are not built upon Christ will be burned up. That means that if you do anything for selfish motivations, the Lord will disregard them. So all the people that are serving ministries out of duty, out of a desire to be noticed, out of a desire to make themselves shine, then they are doing it in vain. But going in the other direction a person may not be as capable of doing something in the most popular manner, but have a desire to please the Lord and no one else. They may not know the correct words to say, the right buttons to push or may not do things the way some people would have them done, but they are serving the Lord and not a selfish desire.

These are the humble and weak that follow the Lord with an inward zeal to glorify Him. They are the ones that are most often time left on the sidelines because they do not fit in, or chosen last because their skills may be lacking in some areas. These weaker vessels need to be discipled instead of cast off as useless, or shunned because they may be different than everyone else. After all, aren’t all Christians the outcasts of the world? Shouldn’t the outcasts of the world be pulling together instead of apart?

Let me remind you what the Word of God says:
1 Corinthians 12:20-26 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

Wow! That is exactly what the church does not do. Instead these weaker parts are cast by the wayside. They look in at what the others are doing in their little cliques and wonder why they are on the outside when all they want to do is work with the other hand, the other eye, the foot, the little finger or the mouth and glorify God, build the Lords kingdom and be a member of the body instead of being a cast off. After all would you cut your feet off because your belly was big, because your feet did not run around enough to burn enough calories for weight loss? Or would you nurture your feet and see how they could work with the whole body toward the same goal?

So next time think about the “little people” that are looking into your circle of friends and invite them in. These people could be the missing puzzle piece… er uh, body part that could complete the goal that has been set forth. Even if their skills may be lacking, they may be a little slower than you or they may need some coaching (discipleship) they may be the body part that God wants to use to His glory.

Also don’t forget he story of the ugly duckling. Not a biblical story per se, but goes right along with the 1Cor.12 quote above. The “duckling” was seen as ugly because it did not fit in, there fore shunned by its brothers and sisters. Only until they saw the “duckling” in its true state as a beautiful swan could they appreciate it in how its beauty glorified Gods work. The same could be as the outcast duckling in your church, they could be waiting for the Lord to show you His glory through them and when He does….. it will be more beautiful than you could ever imagine.

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