[#pictureLent] February 16: RULER

By Christina Embree
ReFocus Ministry
Wilmore, Kentucky

First, read Micah 5:2-5a

Nearly everyone I know has heard or read the book Charlotte’s Web, the enchanting tale of an ordinary pig named Wilbur made extraordinary by a spider named Charlotte.

One of my favorite things about this story is that Wilbur started out as the runt, the smallest of the litter, the one expected to amount to nothing. But the end, he was the star of the bunch, the winner of ribbons, the beloved prized hog. And the only difference was instead of being treated as ordinary, he was treated as extraordinary. That attention, that love, that appreciation made all the difference.

In The Message, Micah describes Bethlehem as “the runt of the litter” but says from that ordinary place, the extraordinary would come; a “shepherd-ruler … centered in the majesty of God-Revealed.”  God himself would come to and from that place in the person of Jesus. God was Bethlehem’s “Charlotte." This tiny town, this nothing-place, became extraordinary the day the Jesus came.  Shepherds danced in the streets. Kings visited from afar. Angels sang in the skies. A star shone over its dwellings. Extraordinary things happened there.

So, what about you? I bet on most days you feel pretty ordinary. If you are anything like me, most days start in the most ordinary way in the most ordinary town in the most ordinary home. BUT, we have an extraordinary Shepherd who is writing our story, a Good Shepherd who has extraordinary plans for us in His kingdom, a “shepherd-ruler” who brings peace to our chaos and hope to our darkness.

God's attention, God's love, God's appreciation makes all the difference. When God tells our story, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. “For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10 NIV).

Prayer: Father, give me the eyes to see the extraordinary in the ordinary, to call out the gifts You have placed in myself and others, and to give You space to write a story that is greater than what I can imagine.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

1.    Can you think of a time where you saw an ordinary thing made extraordinary? 

2.    Why do you think God chose Bethlehem to be the place where Jesus would be born?

3.    The Message calls Jesus a “shepherd-ruler.” What would be unique about how a shepherd rules versus a king or a boss? Check out Ps. 23 for some ideas on how a shepherd might lead.

4.    Has God given you an extraordinary dream even though you are an ordinary person? If nothing stood in your way and you are willing, share what your BIG dream might be. Remember, God’s not done writing YOUR story yet!