Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 6 October 2015

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.  Mark 10, verses 51-52.

Before moving on, there’s something else to be said about these two verses that I feel compelled to share.   It’s the heart of them. It’s not about me.   It’s about Jesus.

Duh!

No, really, I mean it. There’s nothing Bartimaeus could do to make Jesus love him any more; there’s nothing Bartimaeus could do to be worthy of Jesus’ gift of sight, or even the gift of sharing the same airspace with Jesus Christ for just a few minutes.   It isn’t about Bartimaeus receiving his sight in this fantastic miracle of love.   In fact, it isn’t about Bartimaeus at all. If you or I were in the story, it wouldn’t be about us either.

It’s about Jesus loving Bartimaeus and doing something for him. It’s what Jesus did and not what Bartimaeus did.

If you’re like me, you spend more of your time wondering about you’re angle, about what all this means to you, about how you should think or respond or whatever.   Lost in the shuffle of all that selfishness is that monumental statement “what do you want me to do for you” that Jesus spoke to this blind stranger. The creator of the universe, the man with whom Adam and Abraham and Moses all personally interacted, the advocate of Job, the fire in the burning bush and the whisper of life in every living being on the planet walks up to a perfect stranger in a crowd and asks him how He, the Savior, can serve.

It’s not about me.   It’s about Jesus.

Just yesterday, a co-worker and I were talking about how we had led our project with a service attitude.   Not to be beaten-down servants, or to be cowards in the face of weaker people:   we were talking about how proud we were to be on a team where our attitude has been to serve.   To do our best for other people while subordinating ourselves to their goals.   We talked about how this is the true attitude of a Believer, how it’s impossible to be a follower of Jesus without this attitude.   It’s impossible because it’s what Jesus modeled for us.

And because He did it – because He rendered for us the ultimate service of dying in our place, as our punishment – there is nothing standing between us and the majesty of God.   I couldn’t do that; the Apostle Paul couldn’t do that; you couldn’t do that; neither could Bartimaeus, my co-worker, Billy Graham, any Catholic pope, Joyce Meyer or Donald Trump on a good hair day.   Only Jesus could die for us; only Jesus could redeem us.   Only Jesus could show us that all of life is about the supreme gift of love that He is and gave for us and still gives us every day.

Bartimaeus saw that.   He got his sight and immediately followed the first thing he saw, and the first thing he saw was the Savior who served him in his deepest need.   It’s not about Bartimaeus.   It’s not about you.   It’s not about me.   It’s about Jesus and all was, and is, and is to come.

Lord, let all my life be my service to You.   It’s not about me.   It’s about You.

Read Mark 11, 1-3.

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Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 5 October 2015

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.  Mark 10, verses 51-52.

There is so much to unpack in just these two verses; we could spend a week just talking about desire, honesty, faith, promises, gifts, receiving, graciousness or following.   Let’s confine this to what Jesus does instead of what we want.

Notice that Jesus doesn’t do a magic trick.   He doesn’t waive a magic wand, or say “all about me, guys.” Jesus doesn’t go ahead and simply do the miracle and walk away without helping the man.   And Jesus isn’t Allah, demanding servile fealty of humiliated subjects.   Instead, Jesus ASKS the man what He, the Son of God – God With Us, Immanuel – can do for him.

What do you want me to do for you?   Can you imagine if God in the flesh came up and asked you that question?   Would you ask for something?   Would you be Solomon and ask for wisdom?   Would you be a media hog and ask for TV time?   Or would you just ask Jesus for a hug (which might be what I’d ask for)?   Jesus asked this question of the blind man, Bartimaeus, even though He already knew what was on Bartimaeus’ heart. Jesus didn’t ask the question for Himself:   He asked it for Bartimaeus.

So Bartimaeus responded and then Jesus acted.   Yet notice what Jesus says:   your FAITH has healed you.   Bartimaeus knew in his heart that Jesus was God Immanuel, that Jesus could help him.   He believed it, and when Jesus posed the question to him, Bartimaeus responded honestly.   To me, that’s a profound thing.   The power of faith and the unmeasurable depth of real faith are profound matters of a loving heart.

We can want almost anything.   In this old world, many things we want aren’t worth wanting; let’s be real.   Yet there are things we can want for honest reasons.   To stop a hurt, to help someone (even ourselves), for God’s reasons and not ours:   even in a world of sin there are healthy reasons to want something.   It’s even ok to want things that are healthy, especially if something about our situation isn’t healthy.   Yet God does indeed know what’s best for us and can respond to us rightly and personally in ways we don’t always recognize when our wants become our wishes.   Sometimes, whether we want it or not, God gives us things or allows things into our lives because He knows that we need them.   My question becomes “is what I want about me or God?”   That’s the nub of it all.

No matter whether this is your situation or not, I hope and pray that you’re like Bartimaeus.   He got to pray to Jesus in person, to extend his deepest desire to his God standing in front of him.   He was blind but then he got to see and it was a fruit of a deep faith from which we can learn all these centuries later.   The key is having faith in Jesus and bringing our deepest loves, thoughts and desires to Him, then waiting on the answer He always gives.

Lord, I want so many things, but what I really want most is You.   I want Your love and peace in my life.   I don’t deserve it but I ask for You anyway.

Read Mark 10, verses 46-52.

Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 2 October 2015.

Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. Mark 10, verse 50.

When was the last time you REALLY got excited about something?

Yesterday was a go-live at my client.   Yesterday, the ICD-10 diagnosis codes went live at every health insurance company in the United States, and at every hospital, doctor’s office, medical facility, or healthcare provider of any kind, including my client.   Starting yesterday and going forward, if you receive medical services that are processed at any healthcare facility in the country, unless they are done for workers compensation purposes, they will use ICD-10 codes.   I’ve helped to lead a team at one company for most of the past four years (with occasional side-tracks to other locations as well).   You wouldn’t think that something as small as a medical diagnosis code would get people really excited, but this has been a BIG deal in the healthcare community and a great many people have been VERY excited about it.

Sort of like blind Bartimaeus.   In fact, during meetings yesterday afternoon, I looked at some very excited (and nervous) participants and wondered if they would be as excited as Bartimaeus was at receiving his sight from Jesus.   Would they jump up and be grateful?   Would they see it wasn’t about them (while it sort of seemed like it was)?   Would they begin to see at all or would they simply keep walking around blind?

Jesus had called Bartimaeus.   He had singled him out from a crowd of total strangers because the blind man had gone the extra mile to be noticed.   He had called out louder and louder for Jesus to notice him because blind Bartimaeus needed help that he realized only Jesus could give.   Bartimaeus may have felt desperate, or hopeful, or nervous, or even a little apprehensive; perhaps he felt a mixture of those things and we’ll never know.   What we do know is that Jesus responded to him and Bartimaeus became excited about meeting Him.   He became excited and jumped to his feet and went straight to Jesus.

Tell me:   have you ever gotten excited like that about Jesus?   When was the last time you got excited about something but, more importantly, when was the last time you got excited about meeting Jesus in any way?   He calls me and you every day in ways both personal and public.   I can’t tell you the last time I jumped up to my feet and ran straight to Him. More likely than not, when Jesus calls to me I respond by saying “in a minute, Lord.”   Or “let me finish this thing I’m doing.”   Jesus calls me and comes right to me, right to me in the middle of all my muck and my mire.   Do I respond the same to Him?   Do I act like grateful Bartimaeus? How about you?

So far so good with my client and most of the companies and providers I know about.   I’m sure there are issues somewhere, but a lot of excited people did a lot of work ahead of time to prepare for using these new codes and that helped to minimize likely problems.   Still, the next time you visit your doctor, ask them about ICD-10 and what it meant to them.   Be prepared for an earful of an answer, though.   Chances are they may get a little excited about it.

Lord Jesus, I’m excited about You.   I’m excited You called me; I’m excited You saved me.   Teach me today to share my excitement about you with others.

Read Mark 10, verses 46-52.