Last week we were on Treasure Hunt. It was great to see a number of visitors attending with us for a baptism. Truly our little ones are one of the greatest treasures God allows us to care for. The sermon from the day can be found here.
This coming Sunday we'll be taking a look at a passage from John 5:1-8 in which Jesus meets a crippled man by a healing pool (purported to have miracle qualities). Jesus asks him an unusual question. 'Do you want to get well?' My first thoughts on hearing that question were to respond, 'Well do you really think he'd be sitting by a healing pool if he wanted to remain sick? Who would do that?' In response to the question the man starts to tell Jesus how every time it looked like a miracle could happen, he could never get to the healing waters in time.
You start to wonder if that was really the man's problem. Had he become so used to his condition that he could not imagine anything in his circumstances could ever change? Because of disappointment in the past, was he just tired of asking for help? Was there something he was trying to hide? Was he just too proud to admit his need? We are never told why he was reluctant to answer the question, but we are told Jesus eventually told him to get up and walk!
There are times in each of our lives when we are reluctant to ask for help. Maybe we think it’s a sign of weakness. Maybe we are not sure what the consequences might be if things were to dramatically change in our situation. Maybe we have been hurt or become disillusioned by past failure. We tend to think of pride and self-sufficiency as purely positive things, yet they can both go against the grain of a healthy dependence upon God and the power of God's Holy Spirit in our lives.
It is a humbling thing to admit that we have needs. We can be fearful of asking others for help. What if it reveals some weakness? What if it shows that I am only human after all? God made us to relate to one another and to love one another. We weren’t made to live life alone. If we’re 'the strong' one that is always lending a hand and seeing to it that others are taken care of, it’s hard for us to let someone know we need help, but it’s important that we do.
Jesus asks a simple question,which turns out to be a challenge. 'Do you want to get well?' Are we willing to admit that we need His help? Are we prepared to face the challenges that belonging to His kingdom and living His Way places before us? Or is it more comfortable to stay as we are, stick with what we know and do what we have always done?
There’s an old saying that goes something like this; be smart enough to know when you need help and brave enough to ask for it. And for some music, how could I resist the Beatles classic 'Help!'
Rev. Adrian J. Pratt.