” Jesus said to him, ‘Get up, take up your bed, and walk.’ And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.” John 5:8-9
Today our church celebrated the fifteen year anniversary of our Pastor, Janice West, being with us. I was struck with the passion and purpose that she preached her sermon centering on the above scripture and it’s timeliness for todays’ situation.
The fifth chapter of John focuses on the healing at the pool of Bethesda. A great number of disabled people were around the pool including a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.
The crux of Pastor Janice’s message was the question of are we willing to take up our bed and walk…and be well?
The unparalleled suffering of our world cries out for someone to help! When we pass the homeless…do we avert our eyes and say thank God that is not me?
When the Syrian refugee knocks at our door…do we say…no Muslims allowed?
When we set next to people in our church…who we know are hurting and in need…do we solace our conscience that there are social service agencies that will take care of them?
It is so easy and comfortable to feel justified in the assumption that, ” I have worked hard for what I have and those who have not just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and become successful.”
The Prosperity Doctrine is very popular in many christian circles. I have been a christian for over forty-seven years and have heard this doctrine preached many times. Yet, I have personally known some of the most precious, dedicated, consecrated saints of God, as the old time holiness churches referred to them, that have been poor from the beginning of their lives to the conclusion of them. Mother Theresa was not wealthy. Pope Francis eschews the wealth and ornate trappings of his high office. The apostle Peter requested to be crucified upside down as he exclaimed that he was not worthy to be crucified as his Lord!
” And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they who have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answerth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them who trusteth in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to go into the kingdom of God. Luke 18:24 -25
The question for me is am I willing to take up my bed and walk…and be well? Are we willing to not only see the suffering surrounding us…but to do something about it?