2003-12-19 - What Can We Learn From Rudolph?
In America, and some other countries, we are in the midst of the Christmas season. To some, Christmas has become "too commercialized," while others revel in the opportunity to show their love, by giving heartfelt gifts to those they love, and those who are less fortunate.
During this season, most of us will hear Gene Autry's little ballad about an outcast turned hero, Rudolph. Some of us ARE Rudolphs, and most of us know some Rudolphs. For those of you who "don't recall," Rudolph was shut out from the reindeer games because he was different.
Don't we see this too often in our own worlds? Look around you. See the very overweight lady who is stared at or snickered at, or the teenager who can't afford the "coolest" clothes, and is mocked and excluded from cliques. Regard the person who is derided as a "loser" etc. But just as in the fable, Santa used Rudolph to guide his sleigh, God can use anyone. In fact, sometimes people who have "disabilities" or look different, learn more slowly etc. are more open and malleable to God's hand, than those of us who are stiff-necked with pride, or who are on the other side, making fun of the Rudolphs.
The Bible is clear about those who are thought of as "lowly" or less glamorous They are not only precious to God, but vital to the health of His church. Every person who is called a "loser" is a potential "hero" of God's. Every time we make fun of someone, we make fun of a person for whom Christ died, someone God loves as much as He does you or me. He makes everyone and though it may be overused, the cliche is true: "God don't make no junk."
1 Corinthians 12:14-18 (NRSV) Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would say, Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body, that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear would say, Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body, that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
There are Rudolphs, "losers," scattered throughout the Bible. There was "put his foot in his mouth Peter," who was one of the strong early leaders of the church. There was "Doubting Thomas," who served His Lord faithfully as a disciple. There was the murderer Paul, whom God did not "write off." Rather, He used Paul to pen some of the inspirational epistles by which we try to live. In Heaven, there will be a lot of Rudolphs who hear those yearned-for words: "Well done, good and faithful servant."
If you are a Rudolph yourself, be encouraged that you are in good company. Ask God how He will use your "nose so bright" in His plans. And if you are not, lift up a prayer for the Rudolphs in your life, and do what you can to help them fulfill their potential.
I hope you all have a joy-filled and peace-filled Christmas.