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In our congregations today, some judge others due to their oddness in the way they act or talk or when they won't go along with the flow of things. Throughout the Bible many men of God were seen by others as being a little odd. Some were judged by the "religious" people and even killed.

Noah. Noah and his sons built a very big boat on dry land. He did this even though he had no way of getting the boat to water. He then went about collecting all sorts of animals to stash inside the boat. (Genesis 6-7) Just think what ridicule Noah and his family must have faced from everyone. But Noah had the last laugh; because of his faith and obedience he and his family were the only survivors of the Great Flood.

Isaiah. Just who do you know that can walk around naked and barefoot for three years without being locked into a rubber room? (Isaiah 20:1-6) Isaiah was most assuredly mocked and ridiculed. But he followed God's directions nevertheless and is now one of the most respected prophets of the Old Testament.

Jonah. Jonah tried running from God and bought a one-way ticket on a ship bound for Tarshish (Jonah 1:3). But his vacation went sour and Jonah ended up traveling by fish-the hard way (Jonah 1:17; Jonah 2:1-10). And after all of that trouble, Jonah was one of the very few men in the Bible to actually see his mission successfully accomplished (Jonah 3). And then what did he do? He pouted under a vine because he had been an instrument in saving thousands of people by bringing them to repentance! (Jonah 4)

John the Baptist. John must have been a sight to see! He dressed really funny and ate bugs (Matthew 3:1-4; Mark 1:6). By his lifestyle, we know he wasn't well-groomed, but nevertheless he was a man sent by God (Matthew 11:7-11; Luke 1:13-15; Luke 7:24-28).

Jesus Christ. Are you surprised to see Jesus in this list? Well, think about it. Here He was, a well-studied Jew, turning His own "religion" on its ear. First, He chose "nobodies"--blue-collar men with little or no religious training, to be the leaders in His "new religion." (Matthew 4:18-22; Matthew 9:9-10) He instantly healed the sick and fed thousands with just a few baskets of food, free of charge (Matthew 8:3-4; Matthew 8:13-17; Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:32-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-13). He publicly chastised the religious leaders on their own turf (Matthew 23; Luke 11:37-54). When He needed some cash, He simply told a follower to reach into the mouth of a fish. (Matthew 17:24-27) This Guy made a fig tree wither with a single sentence. (Matthew 21:18-22) Do you know anyone else who sends his friends on ahead of him by boat and then casually strolls out to meet them in the middle of a storm-by foot on top of the water? (Matthew 14:22-33) Yes, thanks to Jesus, who went against the flow, we can now receive the eternal gift of salvation (John 14:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:9).

And there you have it. These men are our spiritual forefathers. And, let's face it, if they showed up in some of our congregations today, they would probably be given the boot. Think about this. The next time you see someone who is just a little odd, don't judge him. He just might be a little closer to God than you are!

Copyright © 1999 Timothy A. Southall. All rights reserved.