FORMING COMMUNITIES | DAY 23.
Mark 10:46-52 (KJV)
As followers of Jesus, we are challenged to go and make disciples, teaching people to follow in his footsteps and live out their God-intended purpose. We are at our best as his followers when we engage our communities as the body of Jesus Christ—the church, where the accountability and nurture we receive together is what keeps the salt salty and the light shining brightly. But in a world where we are consumed by deadlines, targets, commitments, responsibilities, distractions and the constant ‘noise’ from the demands of everyday living, how can we be the salt and the light that Jesus calls us to be?
Jesus was surrounded by noise as he left Jericho, but that didn’t stop Him from hearing the cries of one man who really needed help – a man that others would rather have ignored and pretended wasn’t there. (Choosing to ignore the reality of the suffering and injustices that surround us only serves to justify our apathy and indifference towards addressing it.) Bartimaeus had probably been blind and begging for a long time, and so while most people avoided him, and some people accommodated him, only one person asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’
Sitting with his hand out each day hadn’t changed anything for Bartimaeus because other people’s avoidance and accommodation had conditioned him to accept his own circumstances. It wasn’t until someone came along and offered him a hand up that things changed. How many people do you know have conditioned themselves to accept their lot because people have assumed, and no one has ever stopped and taken the time to ask, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’. People who live next door to us, who sit across from our desk, who serve us, who ‘follow’ and ‘like’ us, people whom we teach or train with or whom we serve are waiting for someone to stop avoiding, stop assuming, stop accommodating and simply ask, ‘Is everything ok? How can I help you?’
Nothing was more important than the place that Jesus was on his way to that day, but his selflessness demonstrated that we should never lose sight of the people that we are saved to serve. Despite life’s demands and distractions, we should always look out for someone who needs our help. Our season of life and circumstances will impact our capacity for connection, but we can all pause and ask, ‘What can I do to truly connect with at least one person around me?’ What a difference we could make to our communities.
Today, God, open my eyes that I might see. Help me to filter out the noise of a busy lifestyle and make the time to answers someone’s cry for help. Amen.