One of my favorite stories in Scripture is out of the Book of Mark. Chapter 2. It’s the story of friends who bring a paralyzed man to Jesus. The last time I spoke on that passage some questions came to my mind. How would you answer them?
Do I expect that God is going to move in incredible ways right here, right now? Here’s the truth. I go to church week in and week out fully expecting not much to happen. I talk a good game but when push comes to shove do I really expect God to do something quite remarkable right here right now. Seriously. Do I believe that my God can break out and do something in someone’s life …maybe yours …now, today? My big fear is that I’ve become a spectator at a religious game.
If I really believe God can still move powerfully ...well then, who’s mat am I carrying? Who am I praying for so intently that I’m begging God to do something in that person’s life? And am I willing to be inconvenienced, to push through the crowd, and to climb onto a roof because my love for someone else and for God is so strong I can’t do anything else?
Do people matter to me? Really matter. And do I pay attention to those who interrupt my day and disrupt my patterns?
Am I willing to give up my membership in the religious referees club? Would I be willing to give up my right to declare a penalty when God acts in a way that breaks the mold I’ve created for him or when you break out of the culturally Christian mold of what a person of faith should look like?
Would I be willing to climb onto the mat myself when I’m hurting and allow your faith to carry me? Am I willing to all your prayers to become mine when I can’t find the strength to utter them myself?
And do I really believe that God can heal me inside and out? I’ve often wondered what the paralyzed man would have said …when someone asked him about ‘what happened’ back there. What would he have said about the ‘sin’ thing? Did it feel like Jesus took a backhoe to his insides and cleaned him, put him back on his feet and made him like new? And if he had a choice would he choose that inside healing over the more obvious physical healing? Is that what I really want?
And my answers.
I want God to be bigger than the box I’ve put him in.
I want every gathering of believers be a place where we walk away and go ‘whoa, this is a dangerous place.’ There's a sense that God's on the prowl, always to be trusted but never safe.
And I want my faith to be big enough that someone could hitchhike off it if they need to.
And I want to be the kind of person that’s always looking and praying for people to bring to Jesus.
Just as all people matter to God I want all people to matter to me.
I want Jesus to clean up the junk in my life because all the garbage doesn’t serve me well.
And I don’t want any part of the religious referee’s club. Because I don’t want to be so religious that I’m not real.
How about you?