Cathy’s mother had taught her all the ins and outs of cooking and baking since she was a teeny-weeny knee bopper. And she simply loved it. Cooking and baking came naturally to her and progressing from mud cakes to cup cakes happened naturally long before kindergarten. At high school she spent extra time on her hospitality and catering subjects—all things that would keep her in front of the stove and oven. In her senior year she met Casper. No one was ever quite sure whether he had fallen for her quiet beauty or her delicious cuisine. But he never really understood the deeper meaning of “wait” and so they got married the day after their last exam, and started with a family the following year. Cathy’s time was taken up with changing diapers, feeding a hungry hardworking husband and keeping the tiny little house neat and clean. Her dreams and creativity were confined to her thoughts—only when she had the time. When the sixth and last little one was halfway through high school, the yearnings of yesteryear were awakened and she had a serious sit-down discussion with loving hubby Casper. He uhmed and ahed, and then said okay.

So, Cathy set up shop, “Cathy’s Cakes and Confectionery.” The support in the run-up was tremendous. All who had tasted her culinary skills encouraged her to take the major step. On the first day of the month the doors opened. The shelves were stocked with goodies galore. Everything was in place. Only—the family was missing.

A few strangers came in; bought some; came back; bought more; told others; who also came… Eventually the shop started to do quite well. Only then did the family make an appearance…

Cathy was saddened, hurt and couldn’t understand her family’s initial behavior. Then her friend Charisa mentioned the Nazareth Factor.


Harry was always good with his hands. From the time he was small he always helped his dad around the house. He loved taking things apart and fixing them. At one stage he took two alarm clocks apart and when he was finished he had enough parts for three! After school he trained in technical areas; and after working for a few guys he thought it was time to branch out on his own. Thus “Harry the Handyman” was born. He rented a small workshop in the industrial area and acquired a suitable pickup truck. Then he advertized in the local newspaper. Most people knew him from his previous places of employment—and slowly the calls trickled in.

However, when his brother’s hot water cylinder blew, he phoned a different handyman. His brother-in-law wanted a new garden feature installed and also contacted another handyman. Soon Harry noticed that all the jobs required by his own family went to the opposition—excepting those of his dad. After he won an award from the local small business association, his brother asked him to convert the garage into a family room.

Harry was saddened, hurt and couldn’t understand his family’s initial behavior. Then his neighbor Henry told him about the Nazareth Factor.


Sandra was a storyteller. She always came up with the wildest concoctions imaginable. At school her friends always listened to her scary stories. At varsity she started telling love stories, and everyone just hung on her lips. Her lecturer suggested that she pen them down. And so she did. When her notebook was full the lecturer read through it and suggested she have her short stories published. The road to finding a publisher was more difficult than filling the notebook with love stories. After a few rejections, her manuscript was accepted. Everyone rejoiced with her. A year later the book, “Young Love” by Sandra Saunders, was printed. Her family commented that it was nice, meaningful, touching, inspiring… And that was that.

Slowly sales picked up and strangers started to rave about her book. Her mom was in full support and told everyone about her wonderful daughter who had written such a wonderful book—even to the extent of Sandra feeling quite embarrassed about her mom’s unbridled crusade. However, the rest of her family only expressed modest interest and casually mentioned her “work of art” to others.

Sandra continued to pursue her dream and after a few years her second book became a national best seller. Then she discovered that her family members were introducing themselves as relatives of a “renowned author.”

Sandra was saddened, hurt and couldn’t understand her family’s initial behavior. Then one Sunday morning Simon’s sermon was all about the Nazareth Factor.


Were Cathy, Harry and Sandra the only people ever to experience the Nazareth Factor? Have others perhaps had similar experiences?

Anyway, exactly just what is the Nazareth Factor that seemingly causes family to initially provide less support to a fellow family member who is an aspiring entrepreneur, a rising star, on the road to possible success? What was the essence of Simon’s sermon that particular morning?


Many years ago, about two millennia to be a little bit more exact, a young man grew up in a town called Nazareth. His dad was a carpenter and he fiddled around in his dad’s workshop. Some busybodies whispered about him as he was conceived while his mom and dad were engaged—before they were married. Anyway, the kids in the town knew him well and his brothers and sisters also got on quite well with him.

One day they went to Jerusalem for a big religious festival. He sort of wandered off and started to talk to the grownups. It became crystal clear to one and all that he was a special boy with extraordinary insight into the things of God.

As time went on he became a preacher and teacher, and he traveled all over the country. But he was different to the others of the day. The power of God was upon him and he performed many miracles. The blind would see. The lame would walk. The lepers were cleansed. The possessed were freed. Even water was turned into wine. A large number of people became his followers. Some recognized him as the Messiah. Others realized that he was the Son of God incarnate.

Then he went to his own hometown—there where they all knew him so well. There where he had grown up and worked in his dad’s carpentry shop. There where he had been schooled and where he had played with his friends. There where the people knew him as he had been known before his gifting and calling was revealed to all and asunder. And then an amazing thing happened. That was the day the Nazareth Factor kicked in!

He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?”

Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas.

All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?”

And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.”

And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.

(Matt 13:54-58 NLT)

Therefore, should we find ourselves in the same position that millions of others have found themselves in, we needn’t despair. Jesus experienced exactly the same.

It’s an apparent natural phenomenon that a person receives recognition for achievement everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.  It seems that the locals and family simply can’t think that someone from their midst could amount to something or achieve anything. Sadly, some may also feel that if they themselves can’t have “it,” neither should others.

That lack of recognition was borne by Jesus Christ for us long, long ago.

However, take heart, for as the excellence of your work becomes more and more evident, the family might even become your greatest advocates! “They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus.” (Acts 1:14 NLT)


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© Emil Kirstein

(Author of Quest for Freedom)