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Dec 20

Are Helpless People Unimportant?

…helpless people are unimportant, right?

Do you sometimes have trouble deciding what is important and what isn’t? I think I could make that decision if everybody would just leave me alone…but they won’t.

For instance, I have grown quite accustomed to my bald head. That wasn’t always so. One can live in denial for only so long, wrapping the long hairs around one’s bald head, before one looks in the mirror and says, "I just can’t do this any longer."

Then you quit trying to hide it and you’re free.

There are advantages like being able to comb my head with a sponge and cheap, quick haircuts. And not only that. I’m in good company with Sean Connery, Bruce Willis and Captain Jean Luc Picard. Being bald isn’t half bad…

…until I turn on the television and some twit starts telling me that the reason people don’t like me, women don’t find me attractive, I don’t have a higher salary and I don’t have social acceptance is because of my baldness. Then they tell me about a hair replacement procedure, hair weaving (I can even swim with it) or a lotion that will grow hair.

Maybe they’re right, I think. Now I know the reason everything is bad in my life. Never mind that I’m married and don’t care if I’m attractive to other women, people didn’t like me when I had hair, I’m paying the bills and I don’t care a fig about social acceptance.

Growing hair may be really important. If they say it enough, I start believing it.

The reason I’m telling you this is that the Christmas season is a time when a lot of people are trying to tell us what is important and valuable. They put up the Christmas trees in October; started playing the Christmas music in November; and right now we are inundated by those who say our computers are out of date, our iPods should be replaced with the newer model, our clothes are old fashioned, and our friends and family would really love us more if we bought them important stuff for Christmas.

You’re saying: Oh man, here we go again. Another rant on the evils of the commercialism of Christmas.

No, actually that’s not what I’m going to do at all. In fact, I pray for the tired, bedraggled and anxious merchants at Christmas. This is the time when they make it or break it. There are many smaller businesses that will or will not exist after Christmas based solely on how well they do at this time of year. If the stores don’t make it, there will be a lot of people out of jobs. I really do hope they do well.

Besides, if a lot of people lose their jobs, it could affect the economy in a major and negative way. And if that happens, people won’t support Key Life financially. And if that happens, I could be out of a job.

You go, merchants!!!

I just wanted to stop for a moment to remember that the birth of Christ was so different than what we normally experience in almost every area of our lives. It isn’t that commercialization is wrong…it’s just so different than what God had in mind that first Christmas.

We are so busy and there is so much we are told that is important. It’s not just at Christmas. It’s all the time. Everybody has an angle, a product to sell or a vision from God to change the world. It’s important, they say, that we win elections, that we are beautiful, that we smell good, that others like us, that we buy the right stocks and read the right books…and maybe even that we have hair.

I don’t know about you, but in the middle of the hectic things that are a part of our lives and which are magnified during the Christmas season, when I pause and am quiet for a moment and think about Christmas, it is like going into a safe and quiet harbor in the midst of a hurricane.

It’s about grace. The grace of quietness.

In the midst of a very noisy, loud and harsh world, those who whisper are welcomed. That’s what God did at Christmas. He whispered. "And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger" (Luke 2:12).

God could have scared the spit out of us. He is big enough to do that and, in fact, does sometimes. But at Christmas there was no manipulation, no shouting, no harshness. A baby? What is important may not even be known by those who shout. In order to know, you have to be still and listen to the whisper.

There is the grace of obscurity.

"And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah…from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel" (Matthew 2:6).

Bethlehem? Judah? What of any importance could ever come out of such a small place in such an obscure country? And yet, God does big things in little places. In fact, the most important thing God ever did for us was done in a place that most of the world felt was unimportant.

And there is, also, the grace of helplessness.

"Who has believed what they heard from us?…For he grew up before him like a young plant… he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not…. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:1-5).

Helpless people are unimportant. They’re nobodies, right?

Wrong! The most helpless person who ever lived (a helpless nobody by choice) "became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Gentle, obscure and helpless. Kind of runs against the grain of what they’re telling us, doesn’t it?

So this Christmas be still sometime and remember that what is really important came to us from the quiet obscurity of helplessness. We are forgiven, free and that forever because of Christmas.

It’s called love…and love came down at Christmas. It’s when God said:

I love you. Is that okay?

He asked me to remind you!

And, oh yes, if you are thinking about a present for me, I noticed this really cool toupee.

It almost looks natural and I’ll bet if I had that, I would be…

Sorry, Lord. I repent.

In His Grip,

(C) 2006 Steve Brown | KeyLife

Steve Brown

Steve Brown is a radio broadcaster, seminary professor and author. He previously served as a pastor for over twenty-five years and now devotes much of his time to the radio broadcast, Key Life. With such varied experience and unique perspective on life, Steve is an original. He refuses to be a “guru,” doesn’t want to be anyone’s mother and gives, in his teaching, the freedom to think. Overall, Steve has become known for his refreshing and practical Biblical applications. Steve serves as Professor of Preaching at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. He sits on the board of the National Religious Broadcasters and Harvest USA. Traveling extensively, Steve is a much-in-demand speaker. Steve is the author of numerous books including Born Free, When Being Good Isn’t Good Enough and When Your Rope Breaks. His articles appear in such magazines and journals as Leadership, Decision, Plain Truth and Today’s Christian Woman.

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