Summary: The importance of obedience. Your obedience affects God’s plans!
How many of you actually think out how routine your days can be? I know we joke about how kids change everything and bring new excitement to each day but we still follow the same plans and molds that have been placed before us. You get out of bed at a certain time, get ready, go to work, come home and then your real work begins. Kids have their routines too. Get up, eat breakfast, go to school, come home, pester mom and dad, and then play while pulling sisters hair and smacking brother because he took the best toy. I was talking to Tim Lee while he was counting the offering after services with Meagan helping him of course. We were talking about spending time with family and how the kids were helping out since Beth had injured herself. Meagan said she had something very important to do; she had to play! Playing was very important! She knew exactly what she should be doing.
Each day brings its own challenges and opportunities; the routine bills that come and go each month, the routine joys and pains of raising your children, and sometimes the extravagant joys of finding out you are going to have a baby or that your health is perfectly fine. All the routines and even the special occurrences bring a certain amount of regularity to our lives that make us feel comfortable and easy going. However I have to wonder, what would happen if God threw a monkey wrench into our daily routines? He does this from time to time such as running late due to a flat tire or even just having difficulty doing the most mundane things such as getting a glass of water. Maybe he has more of a purpose for your life and mine that living it out in a simple routine performed day in and day out. There are times when we have small windows of opportunity to change something in our own life or in the life of someone else. It may be the opportunity to say a small word of encouragement or even just a 10 dollar bill that may help them make ends meet. Out of the ordinary and regular way we live, an opportunity might present itself where we can choose to obey or disobey God. We can choose to speak about Christ to someone or we can choose to ignore God’s prodding and just keep walking down the street. That one moment could have revolutionized the life of that person. Actually, that one moment could have changed their life and in turn could have changed the lives of many others as he or she acted out of gratefulness to others. Mark 1:40-45 records such an event. Jesus healed many people of many different illnesses and yet for some reason, in the middle of Him healing so many, Mark records the healing and actions of just one single man, a leper. Of all the healings that Jesus had done, why this story? Let’s go through the story and its familiar elements and see if we can discover why God put these fives verses in His Book.
Compassion on the Broken – 40-42
“A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.”
A simple reading wouldn’t present this section of scripture as anything beyond the normal when speaking of Jesus and the miracles he performed. Jesus performed plenty of miracles and had compassion upon plenty of people. The only really abnormal part of this scripture is the way the man asks to be healed. If you read what he says, he really is actually just stating a fact. He basically says, “Jesus since I know you can if you wouldn’t mind could you heal me.” From the description of the man it appears that he is begging and groveling at Jesus’ feet and yet from the words described, the man knew that Jesus was more than capable. Jesus’ compassion led him to heal the man. Again the word “willing” is used which can mean want, wish, or will. The idea is that of a willful desire. Jesus wanted to heal the man. The man came begging and groveling and yet at the exact same time knew exactly who Jesus was!
This story seems all well and good until it hits home that we are much like the leper in the story. Broken by the sin we so easily indulge in each and every day, we come crawling back to God and ask him to bring us out of the pit we have dug. Sometimes we try to bargain with God so that he will do whatever we may wish. Sometimes it is taking away the pain from a hurtful situation, sometimes its financial problems, sometimes its marital problems. In any case, when all other options have failed, we run to God because we know that he can fix anything. I am not sure why we don’t go like this right off the bat. Maybe it’s our tough guy side that makes us try to find alternative ways to deal with life other than God. The leper had probably tried many ways himself and now finally he realized the man who could take care of it all. Each time we try to dig deeper for help, we find ourselves that much further from the God who could provide it.