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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, April 11, 2019              

Today’s Scripture Reading | Luke 9:51–56  

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village. (NRSV)

The words “good self-esteem” are not actually seen in the Bible. But in Luke there is a fine example of the inner strength Jesus displays time and again in his short life, even though he knew what lay ahead. 

Luke also contains a lesson in how to handle rejection—something many of us don’t feel good about when it comes our way. Most fears regarding rejection come from a desire for approval from other people. When I have felt the sting of rejection, I’ve let other people’s opinions matter more than my own sense of self. In this story, Jesus is undaunted by the Samaritans’ opinion of him.

In 1858 Abraham Lincoln lost the Illinois Senate race to Stephen Douglas and when asked how he felt said, “Like a boy who stubbed his toe: I am too old to cry and too badly hurt to laugh.”

Luke describes the advice Jesus gave his disciples for what to do when rejected: shake it off and move on. Just out of college and excited to put my skills to work in my first job, I applied for what sounded like the perfect position with the right company. When the job was given to a woman with whom I had competed in school, I could appreciate Lincoln’s description of feeling rejected. 

I wish I had known then what I know now about how much God cares for me. I did apply for another job, albeit with injured pride but capabilities and talents intact. The job I got was the best training ground for all my future work. It is in hindsight that I can see that now. 

Dear God, you ask me over and over if I know what I am made of and to whom I belong. Help me to hold onto belonging to you and following Jesus, trusting in you, not comparing myself to others. Amen.

Written by Elise Magers, Assistant Director, Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being

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