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The Ugly Part of It

January 27, 2014

Time to get back into the classroom.  Bert has told another student he wants to meet with me soon – Bert is a skeptic but has been asking quite a few questions in class.  Anna is maturing in the faith, seeking to know the New Testament “like I never have before.”  Mike is fighting a fear of public speaking but is willing to tackle the challenge.  Meredith is dealing with cancer in her family and a father who left,  but never complains –  she’s a straight A student who wants to grab every minute of Bible truth she is able.

I’m in the classroom.  It’s 6:15 in the morning and I am gathering my thoughts.

As we start this new week, I think back to Luke chapter 2:  “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night…”

My favorite part of the Nativity story involves the shepherds. The shepherds were how many people would today consider junkmen or sewage workers: necessary but lowly. Unfair, but nevertheless the opinions of many. Shepherds stood out in the fields at all hours, working “overtime” with no special recognition or thanks. They did not get a chance to further their education or climb the corporate ladder. Shepherds were looked down upon in the first century to the point that it is said that their testimony in court would not hold1a up due to the lowly status of their lifestyle.

Yet God chose the “lowly” to deliver the message.

I like that.

I identify with them.

I laugh, truly laugh, whenever I look in the mirror.  Man, I am the definition of “ugly.”  I wonder what my wife ever saw in me to consider a life with someone as homely a mug as mine.  I wonder why students don’t run around the corner and guffaw at my appearance.   Perhaps they do.

My teeth are crooked, my gait is stooped, and the most exciting color I wear is black. I forget things.  I lose things.  I get impatient. I never get a full night’s sleep.

What amazes me is that God has seen fit to use me in the classroom.

Thank God for the “uglies.” Thank the Lord for allowing those of us who are unattractive and menial to carry His Word and have such a special ministry. These shepherds weren’t vying for a new job or a higher reputation. Based upon who they were, they were “stuck” in a niche in life, yet they received honor along with the magi. Isn’t it interesting, just like the wise men, we would never know their names? Such is the honor of serving the Lord. The recognition comes from Him, the greatest audience anyone would ever want.

It’s great that serving the Lord is not based on attractiveness.

I like these fellows. Blue-collar, dirt-under-their-fingernails types of guys who were privileged to see a universal event in one moment. And, like the humble men they were, they didn’t want to keep it to themselves They shared it.

So must we.

On the street, in the home, or in the classroom.

“I care not where I go, or how I live, or what I endure so that I may save souls. When I sleep I dream of them; when I awake they are first in my thoughts…no amount of scholastic attainment, of able and profound exposition of brilliant and stirring eloquence can atone for the absence of a deep impassioned sympathetic love for human souls.” – David Brainerd

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