By Lynn Jones
The “home field advantage” is an important factor in baseball games. Generally, managers feel that playing on your home field gives the home team an edge.
That’s understandable. When you are playing on your home field, you are comfortable with the playing field and the surroundings. In addition to that, the home crowd roars its approval when you do anything well. It’s only natural that playing on your home field would provide a competitive advantage.
In life, however, it doesn’t always work that way. In Mark 6:1-6, there is the story of Jesus’s going back for a visit to his hometown of Nazareth. Unfortunately, things did not go well. The people in Nazareth did not respond to His ministry. They found it difficult to accept Him as the Messiah. Instead, they saw Him as the village carpenter. They knew His mother, His brothers, and His sisters. The result was that they “took offense at Him.”
Because of this chilly reception, Jesus left Nazareth behind and made Capernaum His headquarters in Galilee. Mark 6:6 says that “He was amazed at their lack of faith.”
Ernest Campbell told of a preacher who used this text as the basis for his sermon. The title of the sermon was, “The Home Field Disadvantage.”
Living the Christian life and sharing your faith in your hometown or in your own home is often a difficult thing to do because these people know you best. They are aware of inconsistencies in your life. One minister’s wife said that the most difficult thing for her was to put up with her husband all week and then believe that he was the voice of God on Sunday. I would appreciate your not asking my wife how she feels about that.
Our families know us very well. They know our strengths, and they know our weaknesses. Living the Christian life in the daily routines of life is a challenge.
I am grateful, however, that the opposite can be true. I observed my mother’s Christian life from a very close distance in my growing up. I would not claim that she was perfect, but she was genuine. I saw her model genuine compassion, kindness, and love.
John Drakeford wrote a little book on family life entitled The Home: The Laboratory of Life. He said that it is in the home that we experiment and try new approaches. In the home we do trial runs, with the knowledge that if we fail, we are still going to be loved and accepted. That’s what a laboratory is for.
Given the choice of playing a game at home or away, most teams will always choose to play it at home. We need to build homes where living the Christian life is easier there than anywhere else. Our homes can be the places where we experience the greatest kindness, love, and encouragement.
Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: email@example.com.