Summary: A look at recovery from the vantage point of blind Bartimaeus.
The Road To Recovery 11-23-08
Series: Road Trip Mark 10:46-52
Intro. If you envisioned your life as one long road, then the chances are pretty good that there would be certain areas along that road that you’d classify as broken, fragmented, messy and maybe even washed out. Those are the areas you wish you could redo, relive or at least put them in the past. But for some reason or another that broken part of your life’s road never seems to get fixed, it’s always in disrepair. And you know what? It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do for a living or how “together” you life looks from the outside…we all live with “broken roads”. That means we all need some repair work done in our lives. When we talk about fixing our messy lives we often associate it with the term “recovery”. Now for most of us “recovery” is something that other people have to deal with. After all, recovery is for those people who have severe problems with drugs, drinking or sex. And it’s true that there are some great recovery programs designed for those specific problems. But this morning I want us to think about recovery from a different perspective. Perhaps you’re one of those who need to recover from a broken heart, a failed marriage, a financial disaster, a family heartache, an emotional meltdown, or a full-blown spiritual collapse. What I want you to hear is the fact that there’s HOPE for your broken life. Do you know why? Because Jesus specializes in recovery. The bible says (2 Cor. 5:17), when someone becomes a “Christian they become a new person, they are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone and a new life has begun.” Now that’s not only recovery…that’s transformation!
There’s a familiar story found in 3 of the gospel accounts. It’s the story of a man named Bartimaeus and how he traveled down the road to recovery. As we read through his story I want you to see if you can pick out the things he did that will give us a framework for experiencing recovery in our own lives today. Read Mark 10:46-52
Now before we get to the specifics of what Bartimaeus did, I want to set the context for the story we’ve just read. Jesus and his disciples were making their way through the city of Jericho on their way to Jerusalem. When they finally reach Jerusalem Jesus will enjoy His triumphal entry, where the crowds hail Him as their Messiah. But within a week’s time, that same crowd will turn on him and call for his crucifixion. Jesus knows what awaits him – the shame, humiliation, agony and ultimately his death. Yet with all of that weighing on him, Jesus takes the time to stop on that dirty, broken road and minister to a blind beggar named Bartimaeus. Now let me state the obvious – if Jesus has the time, the inclination and compassion to deal with somebody like Bartimaeus then rest assured he’s ready to do whatever it takes to bring healing and restoration to your life too. As I watch Bartimaeus encounter Jesus I see him doing 5 things that lead to his recovery. Write them down, they’re steps that will help you successfully navigate your own road to recovery.
1. Seize the moment.
I wonder how often Bartimaeus had camped out on this specific spot by the roadside? Probably hundreds of times during his life. But today – everything was different because Jesus was passing by. The first thing we’re told is that Bartimaeus was sitting by the road. The chances are pretty good that he was simply calling out to the people passing by with this familiar cliché “alms for the poor”. But in v.47 everything changes – when Bartimaeus hears that Jesus is in the crowd that’s passing by, then he begins to shout with real passion and intensity. Bartimaeus suddenly realizes that this is the chance of a lifetime and so he seizes the moment. He wants to make sure that Jesus doesn’t pass him by.
When you think of people who live life to the fullest, who live the kind of life that Jesus described as “abundant” what is it about their life that’s so different from our life? There’s probably a long list of things, but I’m convinced at the head of that list is a particular attitude. It’s their willingness to do something about their circumstances, to take the initiative, to finally and fully seize the moment.
Do you know what’s sad about this story? There were probably hundreds of people in that crowd that needed some kind of personal healing and recovery, but only one of them recognized this as a divine opportunity. And the implication is pretty clear - Jesus would have passed him by if Bartimaeus hadn’t shouted at him. When’s the last time you shouted at Jesus and let him know that you really needed? When’s the last time you seized the moment when you felt God’s Spirit speaking to your heart while you were worshiping here at Fellowship? I wonder how many divine moments have come and gone because we’ve been so preoccupied with ourselves that we let Jesus pass us by? Bartimaeus may have been blind, but he wasn’t dumb. He recognized a divine moment and he jumped on it.