Do you hinder God’s work for you, in you, through you? I was confronted with this question when I read this Bible story yesterday:
Now there is in Jerusalem a pool near the Sheep Gate. This pool in the Hebrew is called Bethesda, having five porches (alcoves, colonnades, doorways). In these lay a great number of sick folk—some blind, some crippled, and some paralyzed (shriveled up)—waiting for the bubbling up of the water. For an angel of the Lord went down at appointed seasons into the pool and moved and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was cured of whatever disease with which he was afflicted. There was a certain man there who had suffered with a deep-seated and lingering disorder for thirty-eight years. When Jesus noticed him lying there [helpless], knowing that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, Do you want to become well? [Are you really in earnest about getting well?] The invalid answered, Sir, I have nobody when the water is moving to put me into the pool; but while I am trying to come [into it] myself, somebody else steps down ahead of me. Jesus said to him, Get up! Pick up your bed (sleeping pad) and walk! Instantly the man became well and recovered his strength and picked up his bed and walked. But that happened on the Sabbath. (John 5:2-9, AMP)
It’s a great story of Jesus healing a man. But did you catch how the man responded to Jesus when asked if he wants to get well? He gave Jesus excuses (why he had not been able to get into the supposedly healing waters). But Jesus had not asked why he was crippled. Jesus asked if he wanted to get well. Our rationalization of our situation can be a major obstacle for God’s work in our lives. Our excuses can hinder God’s work for us, in us, and through us. Lord, have mercy!
I don’t know about you but this text hit me very hard. God has called me to spread out Flowing Faith ministries. But I’ve told him that I don’t have any resources to do so. I’ve told him that I don’t have people to help me. I’ve given Jesus excuses just like the invalid in this Bible story. But it is not about us! It is about God! And God-sized dreams are supposed to be impossible for us.
No more excuses. No more rationalization. It’s time to stop hindering God’s work. Time to step out in faith. Time to let God make impossible possible. Hence I am going to step out boldly and ask people to partner with me in spreading the Word of God. [If you are interested in joining me and volunteering for Flowing Faith ministries, sign up for the Flowing Faith Newsletter (see the right side column). I will soon send a special newsletter out. Pray about it and see if God is calling you to share your gifts this way.]
Jesus is asking us today: Do you want to follow me? Are you really in earnest about doing my will? Do you really want to be my disciple? And Jesus does not want our excuses. Jesus does not want to hear how little resources we have.
Jesus wants to know if we are in. Jesus wants to know if he can do miracles for us, in us, and through us. Jesus wants to know if we are earnest about trusting him in everything. How do we respond?
Thank you that you are calling us to do your will.
Give us courage to leave excuses behind us
and boldly say yest to you.
Thank you for giving us God-size dreams,
we look to you to fulfill them.
Show each of us a place to serve you.
Don’t let anything hinder your work for, in & through us.
In Jesus’ name,
Marianna Frangen Stalnacke