Monday, January 26, 2009

What do you want me to do for you?

Last night in church at Jacob's Well in Kansas City, Tim Keel was preaching on Mark 10:46-52. It is commonly known as the story of Blind Bartimaeus. The text is:
46Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

48Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"

49Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." So they called to the blind man, "Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you." 50Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

51"What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, "Rabbi, I want to see."

52"Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road

The question "What do you want me to do for you?" may seem almost ridiculous on its face. Bartimaeus is blind and living as a beggar. Of course he wants to be healed. But Jesus makes him articulate it, and you have to wonder why.

One thought, that rings my bell, is that Jesus wanted Bartimaeus to articulate his need so that he would "own" it. If he were to be healed, his life would dramatically change. He would have to find a job, since begging would no longer be an option. I think Jesus was asking Bartimaeus if he was ready to give up his limited, but familiar, lifestyle for one that would be dramatically different.

When we ask God for things, we would be wise to walk through this in our own heads. Are we prepared for the consequences of what we are asking for. The miracle we are requesting may change our lives, and the lives of our loved ones, in ways we cannot predict. Are we ready to say that whatever God brings, we are willing to go along with his will?

Something to mull over.

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