Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. (Luke 5:18-19)
Relate: Jahqueil Reagan had a job interview as a cashier at a a thrift store in Indianapolis. The problem is, when the day for the interview came around, he didn’t have the money for bus fare. So he started walking. Ten miles. On the way he was walking past a restaurant while the owner was laying out some ice melt and asked for directions. The owner gave him directions and was about to offer to give him bus fare when Jahqueil just kept on walking. About fifteen minutes later that restaurant owner was heading that way in his car when he saw Jahqueil still walking, through the cold and snow, toward his destination. He offered the young man a ride then he got this young man’s number. Later he called the young man to ask how the interview went. Jahqueil said it went well but the manager already had another person in mind before the interview even started. On the spot the restaurant owner hired him for twice what he would have made as a casheer.
How bad do I want it? I live in an entitlement culture and my generation, us GenXers, are the worst of the lot. I find all too often that if something doesn’t come easy, if it doesn’t come quick, I will give up and move on to something else. Either that or I will whine to God about how hard my life is. How hard? My dad grew up on a small family farm. He used to tell me about hard. But he was the baby in the family, his older siblings would laugh and tell me by the time he came around, he had it easy. Running water… electricity… refrigeration… these were luxuries he had they didn’t. You can forget about the laptop, nook and cell phone. Even my more basic amenities would have been luxuries only for the rich could afford a hundred some odd years ago.
Jesus was preaching to a crowd inside a packed house. If there were fire marshals back in the day they would have kicked out two thirds of those present. Four friends wanted to bring their sick comrade in but they couldn’t force their way. So they work their way around to the roof, pull off a bit of it out (Farrell Jenkins does a great job explaining this) and lower their friend down. They had an appointment with Jesus and like Jahqueil they were willing to go as far as it took, doing whatever it took to keep it. They took their persistence through the roof.
React: Am I willing to do whatever it takes to meet with Jesus. How far am I willing to go? How long am I willing to stay… to pray? What am I willing to do? Is it time for me to take my devotion through the roof? There are friends I have who desperately need to meet Jesus. There are others I know who need a touch from his healing hand. Am I ready to get serious in my intercession and sacrifice for them or will I content myself to a quick prayer most days? Do I even do that?
Prayer is the first and greatest step, but it isn’t the only one. Am I willing to take my money and invest it in the lives of others? Am I willing to use my time and my talents as a sacrifice for them? Would I be willing to pass on a promotion in favor of someone in greater need of that income? These men committed vandalism to bring their friend to Jesus. I wonder if Paul Harvey’s “rest of the story” would have included them coming back to the owner to do some repair work. Would I be willing to go that far? Am I willing to take my compassion through the roof?
Help me to fight for You. Help me to fight for my friends. My life is not my own, it is meant to be lived as a living sacrifice for You. Give me a servant’s mindset, an intercessor’s heart, and a warrior’s tenacity. Show me ways I can serve others that will help draw them to You. Show me the roofs I need to tear down so that they can be found with You.