“Behold, they brought to [Jesus] a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus, seeing their faith, said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2).
Everyone could see the man’s problem. He was paralyzed and couldn’t function. He needed healed so he could live. But he was sick and no one could help him. He was a pitiful case. And all he had were some friends who cared. But, all they could do was to bring him to Jesus.
And it was strange that Jesus ignored his obvious problem and addressed the unseen one: his sins. Jesus is never looking at the same thing we are. He’s always looking much deeper. He’s constantly pressing into the root of our problems.
So, He said to the paralyzed man, “Cheer up, your sins are forgiven”. And immediately he stood up and walked off whole again. Paralysis wasn’t his problem after all. It was his sin (his distance from God). So, rather than heal his physical need while ignoring his spiritual need, Jesus went straight to the spiritual need, and forgave his sin.
The next time you try to fix someone’s obvious need, remember that its really rooted in their spiritual need. Address that and see a miracle happen.
Year after year at the State Fair, a farmer in the Midwest won the blue ribbon for his prize corn. He was interviewed by a reporter who was surprised to find that the farmer made a practice every year of sharing his best seed corn with his neighbors. “How can you afford to do that?” asked the reporter. “Your neighbors also enter their best corn in competition with you at the fair!”
The farmer explained, “The wind picks up the pollen from the ripening corn and carries it to the other fields. In the cross-pollination that follows, all the neighbors’ corn is affected. So I see to it that my neighbors are raising quality corn in order to protect my own crop.”
This is the divine law of reciprocity (giving and receiving). Jesus said, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over” (Luke 6:38). When we share our blessings they are multiplied back to us. Jesus also said, “Whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12). Who wants to walk in the Spirit?
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
When I was a Boy Scout, one of the basic lessons we all had to grasp was Morse Code. We had to pass a test to be approved, so it was a team activity. We practiced together. Morse Code was invented by the inventor of the telegraph, Samuel F. B. Morse.
In an interview, George Harvey inquired, “Professor Morse, when you were making your experiments at the university, did you ever come to a standstill, not knowing what to do next?” “Oh, yes, more than once.” “Then what did you do?”
Morse replied, “I’ve never discussed this with anyone, so the public knows nothing about it. But now that you ask me, I’ll tell you frankly – I prayed for more light.” “And did God give you the wisdom and knowledge you needed?” “Yes, He did,” said Morse, “That’s why I never felt I deserved the honors that came to me from America and Europe because of the invention associated with my name. I had made a valuable application of the use of electrical power, but it was all through God’s help. It wasn’t because I was superior to other scientists. When the Lord wanted to bestow this gift on mankind, He had to use someone. I’m just grateful He chose to reveal it to me.”
It should, therefore, not be surprising that the first message sent by telegraph was: “What hath God wrought!”
Hugh Pric3e Hughes tells the story of a man arriving in the city one cold morning. He got off the train in a station that was much like any other – except all the people were barefooted. “I was just wondering why you’re not wearing shoes,” he said to his cab driver. “Don’t you believe in them?” “Sure we do,” the driver replied.
“Then why don’t you wear shoes?” he asked. “Ah, that’s the question,” the driver said.
Everywhere the man went he found the situation the same. Once he stopped a man who was walking barefoot in the snow and pointed out the protection that shoes would provide for his feet. “O, I know that,” the man said. “See that building? That’s a shoe manufacturing plant. We gather there every week to hear how wonderful shoes are.” “Then why don’t you wear them?” the newcomer asked. “Ah, that’s the question,” the man said.
Are we a lot like the people in this fictitious city when it comes to prayer? We know about prayer. We believe in prayer. But we don’t pray. Why? Ah, that’s the question.
Jesus disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).
Our Frontier WiFi was down yesterday all day. We asked Adam to call Frontier for us and complain (he knows the terminology). It was back up in the middle of his conversation with no reasoning. The guy from Frontier did observe a problem with the power source, however. It seems that our modem is plugged into a power strip when it needs to be plugged directly into the outlet. Whoever heard of a power strip causing power problems?
Perhaps the other six things plugged into the power strip disturbs the proper distribution of power or something. Anyway, it looks like I’m going to have to reroute some of my electrical cables to keep my WiFi working.
Is it possible that we can have too many things draining our power? God is our power source but we can be leaking that power in so many directions that we’ve diluted the Lord’s power that is reserved for our gifts. Maybe we need a dedicated line specifically for what God has called us to do. Think about it.
My 5-year old granddaughter, Raegan, all excited and giggly, is two weeks into Kindergarten. She said to me, “Hey, Grandpa! Did you know that in school when the weekend comes you don’t have to go to school?”
I looked at Anita and said, “Life Lesson 101: On the weekends you don’t have to go to school!”
I’m not sure what she’ll retain from her year in Kindergarten, but she’ll never forget that lesson. Everyone looks forward to the weekend. Its a time to do what you want to do instead of what you have to do. Its a time to dress down and clean up. Its a sabbath and a renewing time.
I wonder how many people get that excited about church. For me, attending church isn’t something I have to do, its something I get to do. When I go to church, I get to unload a burden from my heart…I get to connect with people I’ve learned to care deeply about…I get to watch God at work in people’s lives…and I get to feel connected to something much bigger than I.
Life Lesson 102: On the weekends you get to go to church!
Sue Stier was a vital part of our church years ago. She and her family stood with us through some great years of expansion. Sue just won a battle over the final enemy: death. Her family will lay her body to rest today.
I remember that Sue was a bit bold and to the point. While others used a gentle approach with me, she just said what was on her mind, and it was sometimes blunt. But she was a get ‘er done person, and was very active in her community and church. She once invited Joe and Laura Graves to church. Joe was curious about God but wasn’t interested in changing his lifestyle.
On one of his first Sundays (in the old building), I received an altar call. Joe was resistant and did not want to move. His finger tips were white from gripping the pew in front of him. But, he finally surrendered and walked to the front. His life was dramatically changed from that day on. He came the first time because Sue Stier, bold and blunt, pushed him just enough. That is Sue’s legacy in my mind.
What will you remember about Sue Stier?