Tag Archives: blessings

Willing and Able–Mark 1:40

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

In recent months, I’ve experienced some particular frustration with a certain gigantic banking company, which will remain nameless. Let’s just call it GMAC. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that this interchange involved me filling out a ream of forms and then awaiting the folks at GMAC to render a decision. After months–literally, months–of waiting on them to get moving on my request, the brain trust at this paragon of financial probity declined my request.

But wait, there’s more! After receiving their explanation, I immediately called the handy toll-free number to discuss the matter, because, according to their own documents, the GMAC gang had failed to perform simple arithmetic accurately, a failing that led to their decision. The kind bank representative explained that since they had made the mistake they could restart the process after I refilled all of the documents again.

“There’s no way to simply use the documents I completed before?” I asked.

“No sir,” the GMAC drone answered.

Of course it could have happened. It would have been easy. The problem was that somebody, either this fellow on the phone or his higher-ups, simply weren’t willing.

Think about it. Many times we can do something, but we aren’t willing. I’m not talking about things that I simply can’t do. I might like to slam-dunk a basketball, but it isn’t going to happen. On the other hand, when I head to QuikTrip later to fill up my gas tank, I could pay for the other people’s gas as well. I could, but I’m not willing to do that. I could grade papers for my office mate, but I’m not going to do it. I’m just not willing.

In this brief story, the leper recognizes that Jesus is able to heal him. The question in this man’s mind rests in the Lord’s willingness to do this healing. Now let’s be clear. The ability to heal leprosy is no mean feat, and the leper’s recognition of Jesus’ ability showed his level of awareness.

Sometimes I wonder how much we really believe Jesus to be capable of doing. Do we trust him to provide our food and protect our health, to control this insane world and to control my out-of-control life? Sure, we say that we possess that sort of trust, but often our actions say that we don’t believe him capable of doing the deed.

Rather than depending on the good grace of GMAC with my financial future, I’ve determined not to worry about what they’re willing or able to do. Instead, I’m going to trust in the one is definitely willing and able. At least that’s the plan. I’m willing. Lord, make me able.

Get the Word Around–Mark 1:32-33

That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door.

Last Sunday evening, my church performed a Christmas musical, directed by your humble correspondent. We had offered this work twice on the previous Sunday morning in lieu of our normal preaching services. Both of those morning services had been well attended. Had we been depending on our normal Sunday-morning attendees–just the ones who hadn’t made it the previous week–to fill the pews for the evening, we might have had a hundred or so people present. Instead, we saw a nearly full auditorium with many faces that I’d never seen before.

The idea, apparently, had worked. After those morning performances, we told the congregation to invite their friends and family to pack the place next week. Sure we could have squeezed a few more people into the seats, but we sang and played to a nice crowd Sunday evening.

Let’s consider the goings-on in Capernaum on that Saturday early in Jesus’ ministry. In the morning, Jesus went and taught in the synagogue. After that, perhaps at noon, he walked over to Peter’s house and healed the mother-in-law. After that, after sunset had come and the Sabbath had ended, the word got around town. Before long, everybody with a stomach ache showed up at the door ready to be healed.

Today, I’m not as interested in what Jesus did as in what these people did. They responded to the blessing that Jesus brought onto Peter’s house by coming and seeking a blessing of their own. They didn’t wait for Jesus to come to their house. Instead, they sought him out and brought their petitions with boldness.

How often do Christians see the blessings that come into other lives and sit back wishing those blessings would visit them? Perhaps we see a life enriched through service or prayer and wish that somebody would ask us to do some neat job or that we could be prayer warriors.

God’s blessings, for whatever reason, do not fall on all believers equally. Perhaps after this life, we’ll understand why that is. But I am convinced that many blessings that you and I should enjoy go unclaimed because we don’t go to the door where Jesus is staying and ask for them.