This Christmas we were blessed with a gift card to Willie’s. It’s a hamburger joint that serves delicious burgers and onion rings, not to mention other good stuff. Yesterday, my wife, eldest son and I went there after church services to have lunch. We found a parking spot, got out of the car, and began walking up to the restaurant. As we drew nearer, we noticed the people waiting outside, in line, just to get into the restaurant. Then we noticed through the window the long line inside the restaurant waiting to get up to the bar to place their order. The place was packed! We stopped in our tracks, looked at each other and said, “Nah.” We turned around, went back to the car and ate somewhere else. I could say a long line kept us from partaking of those good burgers at Willie’s. But our hunger and impatience did too.
Are we, and the people around us, like this when it comes to Jesus? Do we have things standing in our way of partaking of Him in a personal way? Do we have yearnings and desires that lead us in different directions or create a barrier of knowing Him? Of experiencing His love?
“What would it take to keep you from Jesus?” A great question that Michael Card sings about in his song of the same name. At the end of this song, Michael Card connects to Mark 2:1-12 that records the account of Jesus healing the paralytic. We don’t know much about this man except, two things: First, he wasn’t able to walk, and second, he had friends who cared about him.
When I read this account in Mark’s gospel, we see how many, many people had gathered where Jesus was. The house was full inside and outside the door! Some, I suspect, were looking in the windows, if the house had any.
As I ponder this scene, I wonder if there were many people who had gotten to the house, saw the crowd, saw the people outside and thus, knew the inside was full, and turned around and went home. That would have been normal, right? They, like us, have other things to do. Other places to go. We have plenty of options for our desires in this world.
Pray for healing? I’ll just take medicine.
Receive the Lord’s Supper for forgiveness? I’ll just ignore my sin and hope no one finds out.
Give offerings to the church? There are plenty of religious people who will give their money. Besides, I’ve got goals and wants and, well, they have more money than I do.
Read and learn from the Bible? It’s too old and not easily understood. But Joel Osteen has a better book on how to obtain the Good Life. I’ll read that.
Worship with others at a local, Christ Centered, Gospel based, Bible believing congregation? Sundays are my only day to sleep in. That’s what I really need.
Follow Jesus? I’ve got 500 followers on my social media accounts. Doesn’t that count for something?
Lord, have mercy on me.
The four friends of the paralytic let nothing stand in their way to see Jesus. The crowds didn’t matter. The owner’s house and property weren’t a major concern for them. The idea that they needed to wait in line, wait their turn, didn’t play into their thinking. They just knew that their friend needed Jesus. And they let nothing stand in their way.
Oh, what if we all lived like those friends of the paralytic. Some crazy stuff would be happening! Things that would make us say, “Wait your turn!” “Who’s gonna fix that roof?!”
PRAYER: “Father Almighty, help us to desire You. Give us the yearning to be in Your presence. To be touched, healed, and strengthened for this life and the life to come. Let nothing stand in our way to see our Savior. Amen.”