Beauty in Out-of-the-Way Places
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I have an inspiring view out of my office window. I look out at a mountain with this rolling field in between me and the mountain. The field dips down into a hollow, or a "holler" as they call it down South. In the spring, some of the trees in the hollow start to bloom in living color. The redbud, the dogwood, they just start setting out their blossoms in all their glory. Last spring, someone walked into my office, glanced out that window, and said, "Well, look at those beautiful trees down there." They are beautiful, but they're in a spot where very few people ever see that beauty.
God doesn't reserve His beauty for places where lots of people can appreciate it. He also plants some beautiful things in out-of-the-way places. Maybe you're one of them. Not many see beauty when it's in an unlikely or a little known place, but it's no less beautiful.
As Jesus is evaluating each of the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, He seems pretty unimpressed with the ones that look beautiful to everyone else. Like the church at Sardis that has "a reputation of being alive" but Jesus says to them, "You are dead" (Revelation 3:1). Or the rich and powerful Christians at Laodicea who Jesus says are actually "pitiful, poor, blind and naked" (Revelation 3:17).
But then there's this church - this out-of-the-way, little known church that Jesus thinks is beautiful. He says in our word for today from the Word of God in Revelation 3, beginning in verse 8, "I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept My word." Then He promises them something that He offers to none of the other, highly visible churches, "I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut." He's going to give them special blessings and opportunities because of their quiet faithfulness.
For someone listening today, that's exactly how He feels about you. You've been asked to serve Him, to be faithful to Him in a little place, maybe a hard place, a place where you receive little or no appreciation or affirmation. Maybe you work or live in a situation where no one appreciates the beauty of Christ in you. But God wants you to know today He loves to look at you. He thinks you're beautiful!
Think about Hannah in the Old Testament. She was a childless woman who kept on trusting the Lord. She was beauty that no one saw except God. And He made her the mother of Samuel, the greatest spiritual leader of his time. And then there's Mary, the little known girl from a ridiculed, backwater village called Nazareth, but God knew all about her and He looked to her when it came time to find a mother to carry and to raise His Son. God seems to have special rewards for quiet, unnoticed faithfulness.
It's easy to get discouraged and even down on yourself when you've been asked to bloom for God in a place where few can see you, where few appreciate your service or your sacrifice. But God sees you. You are His "something beautiful" in an out-of-the-way place. And although there aren't many who see you blooming there, like those glorious trees hidden in the hollow outside my window, your life is no less beautiful.
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