There was a an enormous crowd, all with desperate needs, clamouring to see Jesus. But the four friends of the paralytic did not get distracted, or feel guilty about the others. They concentrated on the need of their one friend and made sure that he got the help he needed.
-Sometimes we become overwhelmed by the enormity of needs around us and this can paralyse us or make us lose hope. God doesn’t call us as an individual to change the entire world , he does call us to make a world of difference in the life of one or two or three or ten. We mustn’t become paralyzed by the fact that there are millions of orphans or people living with HIV, rather focus on the huge difference we can make in the lives of a few. And if we all make a difference, then we will change the world.
The four friends did not give up, even when they had to climb up on the roof and break through an opening. I am sure many people were angry with them for doing this.
-If we really want to make a difference in the world, we must be prepared to face opposition from people who do not see the bigger picture. We need to stay focused on what we are called to do, otherwise we may be tempted to give up.
Jesus said to the paralyzed man ‘Son your sins are forgiven’. The friends must have been puzzled, even angry, why doesn’t Jesus just heal him, surely that is the most important thing?
-Sometimes we become so focused on our ‘HIV ministry’ that we forget that people have multiple issues in their lives. At a particular time, the fact that her husband is hitting her, or that she has no job, or that her child is sick, may be a bigger issue for a person than that she is living with HIV. We need to always be willing to listen and, more importantly, to hear what the person is telling us about their felt needs.
The man took up his mat and walked out in full view of everyone.
-What a beautiful picture of empowerment! Surely he was still weak, surely he still needed support, but the friends enabled him to stand proudly and to walk alone without support. Maybe he stumbled, maybe the mat was heavy but he did it alone. The challenge for us is to enable and empower people so that they can do things for themselves. Maybe they are still weak, maybe they are still hurting, but the greatest joy is for them to walk alone and proud.
A thought to ponder – are there any people in your life that you are disempowering through caring so much?