The Juggler

"But the final answer to all feelings of inferiority
is to remind yourself that God
loves, redeems, pardons, restores, 
protects, keeps and uses
misfits, outsiders, and failures
no less than He does beautiful people
of the kind that keep crossing your path
and of whom you have been wishing you were one."
~ J. I. Packer

The children were laughing with delight as the juggler tripped and rolled to the hip hoppity music he played on his small instrument.  He made funny faces and pretended to be careless, dropping the balls he would juggle.  The little man so enjoyed to hear the laughter of his young crowd that he even performed beyond his own abilities, surprising himself along the way.   He always wore a funny sort of outfit to enhance his ridiculousness and to advance his appearance of hilarity.  The children, of course, loved it and him.  Even the simple minded enjoyed his show from time to time.  Others put up with the juggler and either pretended not to see or just ignored his show.  The parents of the children would have to stay, somewhat embarrassed, to be seen in close proximity to such foolishness.

The juggler knew this, of course, and in moments of solitude would rehearse over and over again the seeming rejection in his mind.  He never wanted to be silly or useless.  The little man, like most humans, wanted to be respected and well thought of.  In reality, he wanted more than that.  It was appreciation that he craved and the need to be useful.  Always, he felt like he was imposing himself on the crowd, forcing his way into acceptance.  It never really worked though and he would go to his home with the same feelings of rejection.

No one was out and out mean to him.  But it was as if he were invisible.  The juggler had tried other means of employment but he darned near starved to death.  At least being a juggler he had food on the table even though it wasn't much.  Day after day he would try and think of ways to be more than what he was but then at the end of the day he would come with nothing to show for it.  The little man was ashamed to admit that he wondered why God had made  him this way.  Perish the thought that anyone would know what was going on in his mind.  Better to play the happy juggler with appearances of not having a care in the world than for people to know how deeply he struggled with his feelings of inadequacy.  He really was quite miserable.

All that changed on the morning when the Master Commander came to see him.  The little man was getting ready for his daily show.  He was putting on the silly hat with a bell on it.  Every time he moved his head the bell would tinkle so there was constant noise.  It wasn't a terrible clang but just a small tinkle.  By the end of the day, though, he would have a headache from the ongoing tinkle, tinkle, tang, tinkle.  The juggler was thinking on this as there was a knock at the door.  He almost missed it as he was in such thoughts about the tinkle on his head.  But there it was, "knock, knock and then another knock-bang".  He jumped, not sure what to do.  Because, you see, no one ever knocked on his door.  His movements were such that he almost tripped over his own feet.  So by the time he actually got to the door he was out of breath.  When he opened the door the little bit of breath he did have was sucked inside his diaphragm so as not to be able to speak.

The MC smiled and one could feel the love and kindness ooze out of Him toward the juggler.  The most amazing words came out of the Lord's mouth.  The little man stood there with eyes wide open and mouth almost dropping to the floor.  "I need your help, my little friend.  Is it possible to take a moment of your time to hear what I have to say?".  Frozen, the juggler could hardly even move backward to let the Master Commander in.  With his mouth still open wide, he shook his head in agreement and opened the door farther as the MC came in and waited for the door to close.

"What did Jesus mean when He said that Christians are salt?
Notice that He said, "You are the salt of the earth."  
The mood of the verb is indicative (a statement of fact), 
not imperative (a command to be something).  
Jesus is not urging His disciples to become something they are not; 
He is telling them what they are as Kingdom people.  
The implication is that they are to be what God has thus made them."
~ Sinclair Ferguson

"Jesus' illustration of salt is an encouraging reminder 
that the apparently cheap and insignificant 
can influence its environment out of all proportion to our expectation."
~ Sinclair Ferguson

As the juggler listened to the MC's plan one could see the fear rise up in the little man's eyes.  Of course, the plan could work but it would mean sacrifice and danger.  Such of the likes that the juggler had never seen or experienced in his short and silly years.  It was to be a rescue plan for a much-loved daughter of the Kingdom.  The Master Commander was putting a team together and the juggler had no small part to play.  What would happen if he failed to do his part?  Friends, coworkers, teammates could be hurt or even killed because of him.  The risk was so great.  A full-blown panic attack was rising up in the little man's heart.  His breathing was labored and short.  His eyes began to blur as he put his head between his knees.  

And then . . . .  he felt the warm hand of the MC rest upon his back.  His eyes came back into focus and his breathing started to normalize.    "Do not worry, my little friend.  For I will be with you and uphold you with my right hand.  I will strengthen and help you.  You will not be alone."   The words of the Master Commander came to him in a whisper as if blowing on him and into him something akin to bravery.

The juggler rose then to stand in front of the MC.  He felt taller and stronger in that moment.  As his eyes rose to meet his Lord's the answer reflected from them.  With gladness the MC grinned as a chuckle arose deep in His throat.  It was reported later that there was uproarious laughter coming from the juggler's home.

"For consider your calling, brothers:
not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, 
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.  
But God chose what is foolish in the world 
to shame the wise;
God chose what is weak in the world
to shame the strong;
God chose what is low and despised in the world,
even things that are not,
to bring to nothing things that are,
so that no human being might boast in the presence of God."
~ I Corinthians 1:26-29

Everyone has struggled with feelings of inferiority at one time or another.  There will always be someone who does it better, looks put together more and has that air of confidence we wished we had.  The truth is this:  we are foolish to think that we are strong in our self; full of pride to think one looks better than an other and mistaken to believe that any confidence comes from deep down in our inner core.  The human race is broken from the cradle to the grave.  This is why we need, desperately need, a Savior.  One that has taken our place and fulfilled all that is required to make us whole again.  If you need strength; go to the One who has conquered sin and death.  If you need confidence; rely on the One who is faithful and true.  If you need assurance that you are beautiful; go to the One who adorns you with the jewels of the Kingdom and sees you as no other can.   Outside of this is nothing more than a fantasy, a whisper of what it really means to live.  If you really want to be all that you can be give your life over to the Life-giver.  

He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, 
whom God made our wisdom 
and our righteousness 
and sanctification 
and redemption.
Therefore, as it is written,
Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."
~ I Corinthians 1:30-31

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