Summary: Compassion, Courage, Commitment, Commission
OUT OF WEAKNESS…STRENGTH - Paralyzed Man: “I Need Some Friends”
Luke 5:17-26 (p. 719) September 3, 2017
Henry Penn, former president of the Society of American Florists, tells what he calls one of the most memorable incidents of his life as a florist. One day two boys and a girl about ten years of age made a visit to his store. They wore ragged clothes, but had clean faces and hands. The boys took off their caps when they entered the shop. One of them stepped forward and said solemnly. “We’re the committee and we’d like some very nice yellow flowers.”
Penn showed them some inexpensive spring flowers but the boy said, “I think we’d like something better than that.”
“Do they have to be yellow?” asked Penn.
“Yes, sir,” was the reply.
“Mickey would like even better if they were yellow because he had a yellow sweater.”
“Are these for a funeral?” the florist asked quietly.
The boy nodded. The girl turned to keep back the tears.
“She’s his sister,” the boy explained. “He was a good kid - - a truck - - yesterday - - he was playing in the street. We saw it happen.”
Then the other boy added, “Us kids took up a collection. We got eighteen cents. Would roses cost an awful lot, Mister? Yellow roses?”
Touched by the story of the tragedy and the loyalty and love of these youngsters, Penn replied, “I have some nice yellow roses here that I’m selling for eighteen cents a dozen.”
“Gee, those would be swell!” exclaimed one of the boys.
“Mickey would like those,” the other one confirmed.
“I’ll make up a nice spray,” promised the sympathetic florist, “with ferns and a ribbon. Where shall I send them?”
“Would it be all right, Mister, if we took ‘em now?” asked one of the boys.
“We’d kinda like to take ‘em over and give ‘em to Mickey ourselves. He’d like it better that way.”
Penn accepted the eighteen cents. The “committee” carrying the kind of flowers “Mickey would like” walked out of the shop. Said Penn, “I felt uplifted for days. Unbeknownst to them, I had a part in their tribute to their friend.”
What would we do if we didn’t have real friends and those who secretly support and help us?
Our theme verse for this series is 1 Corinthians 1:27, “God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise and God chose the weak things of this world to shame the strong.”
We want to think we’re strong…and when we’re not, our pride wants us to pretend we are…And I understand why. There are people who are like sharks in the water. They see blood and attack with a frenzy. It’s easy to focus on them instead of the lifeguards who jump in to save us before we drown…Don’t!!!
Be aware of the sharks…but cultivate relationships with the lifeguards so you can be one yourself.
1 Corinthians 15:33 warns us “That bad company corrupts the best of morals.” I believe the opposite is also true…“Keep company with good people and good people you will imitate.”
Real friends are hard to come by…they’re rare because there is a connections in our souls that cannot be manufactured or formulated. It takes time and it requires as many troubles as it does celebrations.
Real friends love us…not “because of” but in “spite of.” They know our weaknesses and flaws. They don’t overlook them, but they look past them. Real friends don’t run from our burdens…They help carry them.
The man in our text has such friends…His weakness is he’s paralyzed…He’s confined to a mat every day. He cannot walk. He has to beg for help just to meet his daily needs. He’s broken…and the religious leaders of his day would have said, “Either he or his parents must have been terrible sinners for this to happen. He’s being punished by God.” That’s the way many looked at sickness and disease during Jesus’ time.
There’s not rehab, no special hospitals, no programs…Just removal from the community where they had to beg for help from the same people who had these views…confined to a 3x5 mat.
If anyone needed a friend it was this man. And this man did have a small group he could call friends. They would make all the difference in his life…In fact if it weren’t for his friends we’d have never heard of him. We don’t know if these friends were married or single, young or old, rich or poor, but we do know these men formed a fellowship around a mat of weakness…and they would carry their friend so God could show His strength.
I. FRIENDS OF COMPASSION (They took the time)
Jesus is teaching one day…the crowd is made up of Pharisees and teachers of the law…and people had come from every village in Galilee and the surrounding areas…no wonder…Jesus could heal sick people!