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Overcomer or invalid?

Friday, March 16, 2012

He was the grandson of a king and son of a prince, yet he considered himself a "dead dog." Living like a pauper, he was overwhelmed when his father's best friend restored him to a place of honor, allowing him to eat at the palace table and bequeathing his ancestor's land back to him. Best known as Mephibosheth -- now there's a mouthfull -- his story unfolds in 2 Samuel.

As a young boy, Mephibosheth's nurse dropped him while fleeing from their enemies, crippling him in both feet. His father Jonathan had been King David's best friend, and when David took over as head of Israel, he asked his servant if there was anyone in Jonathan's family to whom he could show kindness. That's when he was told of Mephibosheth who was living in Lo-Debar (meaning "pasture-less land"). David summoned his friend's son to the palace -- no doubt quite a change from his former, desolate homeland -- but instead of celebrating, the handicapped newcomer said, "What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?"

Mephibosheth was royalty, King Saul's grandson, yet he saw himself as worthless as a "dead dog." I meet far too many people who see themselves the same way, and even though they might not be physically crippled, they are emotionally handicapped because they never have taken the time to accept how chosen they are by their Heavenly Father. They find it much easier to limp around like a worthless animal.

"Oh, I could never start a Bible study. I don't know enough to be in charge, and nobody would come."

"Sign up to have the visiting missionaries come to dinner at my house? There are others with much nicer homes than mine -- I think I'll pass."

This past week I was told of a student of mine who is berated daily by her mother. I see this teenager as beautiful, talented and kind-hearted. As she entered my classroom today, I told her that she looked really pretty, but instead of saying "thank you," she hung her head and mumbled, "No I'm not." It's no wonder she struggled delivering her final monologue first semester. She, who had encouraged everyone else to do their best, choked up and, when her time came, said she could not perform.

Far too many Christians are satisfied with sub-standard lives as opposed to accepting the role God sacrificially has given them -- heirs to kingdom living. They will stay in their metaphorical dog house where they are contained and cold as opposed to moving into the living quarters offered to them where it's comfortable and warm.

Last month our high school drama department hosted a talent show. Dayton, an autistic student, signed up to perform a "Who's On First?" puppet show. At the dress rehearsal, his mother was seated by him, waiting for his name to be called to take him backstage. When I told her it was time, her son was emphatic as he turned to her and said, "Nobody else's mother is walking them backstage. I don't want you to do it, either." She looked at me, not sure this was such a good idea. I assured her he would be fine and that my backstage crew would take good care of her son. This was Dayton's special time, and he knew it. The night of the competition there were 20 other entries, but this young man captured the third place award. He leaped off the stage to display his trophy to his beaming mother and the rest of his family.

Readers, are you an over-comer or an invalid, a Dayton or a Mephibosheth? Are you worthy of palace-living or a dog-house existence? The kingdom is being offered, but the choice is yours.

Patty LaRoche
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