Dwight Fletcher | Ready to serve?
Psalms 33:12 declares: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.” As we are in the middle of our ‘Emancipendence’ celebration as a nation, let us rejoice that God is our Lord! As people chosen by God and blessed by God, we have access to a faith that changes lives and lands. This faith leads to miraculous healing. It brings true joy and contentment, and it is a faith that serves. The Bible says that when God chooses us, it is for a life of service. However, this isn’t a punishment. In fact, service is not only what we’re called to do, but what is best for ourselves and our country.
God shows us this truth in a story recounted in the book of Luke. It was one of those popular times when a crowd had gathered to hear Jesus teach. It was an amazing time. People were truly learning about God for the first time, and transformation was everywhere! Luke, interestingly, mentions, “…the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick” (Luke 5:17). This might have been Luke’s way of telling us that Jesus was healing as He preached. Jesus was, therefore, healing anyone who wanted to be healed, no matter the sickness – sickness of the body, sickness in the soul (emotional issues), and sickness in the spirit (disease of the spirit is sin).
Life going nowhere
Some distance away was a paralytic, and he was totally dependent on others – helpless. His life was going nowhere, and he was unable to do anything about it. He was without hope.
This man’s paralysis had not only physical implications, but emotional ones.
In those times, there was shame attached to paralysis; the society believed that this form of illness was God’s punishment for his sin. Although we are all born as sinners, this man was labelled a ‘special category of sinner’, and in the eyes of everyone, God didn’t love him.
He was already in pain, debilitated by his physical state, and then subjected to hearing this constantly may have been unbearable.
Like the paralytic, many of us can testify that life can leave us feeling paralysed – paralysed in our emotions (past hurts, abuse, what people say about us, shame), paralysed in our relationships, paralysed in our lives (purposeless), paralysed in our aspirations, paralysed in so many ways.
When the paralytic heard that Jesus, the man of God, was in town, he might not have been excited because in his heart, he may have thought that God didn’t care about him or wouldn’t want to interact with someone like him. Perhaps this is why the text focuses on the faith of his four friends (Luke 5:18-19).
These friends weren’t paralysed, yet they could not and did not stand by and watch their friend live hopelessly in his condition. The chapter goes on to say that Jesus completely healed this man – forgave his sin and gave him the power to walk again – all because his friends chose to sacrifice their time, their energy, their efforts in service.
Many of us are Christians because someone told us about Jesus and invited us to church. Their lives have been touched by God, and they served someone else by sharing that.
Their lives have been transformed, and they wanted others to experience Him, too. We who know Christ are His agents and mediators when others have not yet seen the light. Our faith is not only to serve us, it is to serve others and God’s Kingdom. How are you using your faith to serve?