March 9, 2014

Dealing with Rejection

Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 4:9

If you enjoy watching and playing the game of football (I certainly do), you have observed a curious activity called a "spike." It's rather unusual. A team fights its way toward the goal line yard by yard. Minutes seem like hours as the offensive team plods along. Suddenly, it happens. A play works beautifully, and streaking to the long-awaited touchdown is a muscular running back or some fleet-footed split-end. Six points! But as soon as he crosses the line, this athlete takes the ball and slams the little thing to the ground. With all his might! The guy doesn't so much as say, "Thanks, ball."

I've thought, What if that ball had feeling? What if it could talk? Can you imagine how it would react after being spiked? It had done its job well. Stayed inflated. Didn't jump out of the player's arms—no fumble. And after all that, all the thanks it gets is a vicious spike. Talk about rejection! So it is with God's servants. We do what is right . . . and we get tossed aside. Sometimes, "spiked" viciously. It hurts.

I urge you to listen up! Every once in a while we are going to get kicked. Now, this doesn't mean God has abandoned us or that we are out of His will. It just means people are people, sheep are sheep. It's all part of the humbling process God uses in shaping our lives "to bear the family likeness of His Son" (Romans 8:29 Phillips).

"Struck down"—as Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 4:9—this is the idea of being thrown down, shoved aside, or cast off. This explains why J. B. Phillips paraphrases it, "we may be knocked down." Amazing thing! Even though we may faithfully and consistently do our job, help and serve and give to others, we can expect, on occasion, to be thrown aside and rejected. Let's don't be caught off guard.

Adapted from Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living, Copyright © 1981 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.