Summary: Do you have six strong friends? Happily, one of the things that friends are for is to carry a hurting friend to the doctor, or better yet, to Jesus!
Six Strong Men to carry you (series: What are friends for?)
(Mark 2:4) And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
Do you have six strong friends? Happily, one of the things that friends are for is to carry a hurting friend to the doctor, or better yet, to Jesus! In Mark 2:4, a man stricken with palsy had some strong friends break through the roof of a house where Jesus was teaching so they could lower the stricken friend down into the house so Jesus could heal him. Do I have some friends that would risk that kind of embarrassment to get me help. I want to say that I do, but in this present world where servant-hood is fast fading away, I would ponder too long. My hesitation would be perceived and, of course, any answer that followed would be questioned or at least raise an eyebrow or two.
Sadly, however, one of the things that friends are for is to carry a deceased friend from the church to the cemetery. How many people would show up and willingly volunteer to be pallbearers for me? I don’t know. Would there even be six strong men to carry me? Again, I don’t know but it makes me stop and wonder, perhaps aloud, do I have that many true friends in the world? Can we even say that this is indeed a measurement for success? Let’s carry on.
Many people can spend an entire lifetime seeking to make a name of themselves. They endeavor to run a race for which there is no finish line, or even a halfway point. They endeavor to run a race that holds no promise of reward or bounty. If asked, they may be able to recall a vague beginning. They may be able to suggest some point long ago in their past where they began to climb the never-ending stairs of success, or rather how they interpreted success.
All of us have been asked one probing question when we were young. We’ve all been asked at one point in our lives to respond to the question of ‘what are you going to be when you grow up?’ An innocent enough question on the outside, but one that sets us up for failure. You see, the question was put to us in an environment that deals only with success. The question was given in an upbringing that sees astronauts as heroes, athletes as great stars with big paychecks, lawyers making millions in less than 20 years, and CEO’s being paid more than 25 percent of the companies earnings! That’s the background that flashes through that youngsters mind as they prepare to answer that nosy question. With the background, with the environment, with the big paychecks, with the world that only rewards BIG successes, the youngster feels compelled to hold him or herself to that one mistake they made of actually telling us what they wanted to be.
From middle school, or even earlier, we jump onto a road that we believe leads us to improvement. We jump onto a path that we feel will lead us to those BIG successes, when in all actuality it is instead a treadmill that just runs in a circle.
With visions of ‘life-line tethered’ astronauts floating in our heads, or thoughts of sailing through the air in the last second of the game to ‘dunk’ the winning goal clouding our minds, we all have tried or are trying to follow up our lives with the answer to the question that we gave.
Something BIG, something successful. We have put into our minds a goal that only a small percentage [less than one percent!] of the world’s population could every hope to attain. But, it happened. There it was. It slipped out. We were too young to really know any better, but sadly many will still try to attain that unattainable aspiration. We spend our entire lives trying to live up to this curse that was jokingly asked, but seriously answered when we were too young to know any better.
What can help us overcome this bane to our memory, this annoyance of not being successful in the world’s eyes? I mean we speak of raising the mark but what is the mark and what is it based on? We speak of doing things better than non-Christians, but where are we getting the measurement from that says “this is better and that is not”. Aren’t we rating it all against world standards? Aren’t we judging and evaluating it according to what the world deems successful?
What can help us overcome this blight on our memory? What will ensure that there will always be six strong men to carry you? Being successful in God’s eyes!