Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ministry to the Marginal and Insignificant

[46] And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. [47] And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” [48] And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” [49] And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” [50] And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. [51] And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” [52] And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.  (Mark 10:46-52 ESV)

Blind Bartimaeus was considered a social outcast and so his pleading for mercy from Jesus was seen as an interruption to ministry!  Jesus was 'too important and significant' to be bothered by someone like him - insignificant and unimportant at best.  It is often those individuals who are the most broken by sin who see their need for Jesus the greatest and yet we often see them as difficult, undesirable, and a waste of ministry resources.  They are usually the problem or difficult people and it is much easier to ignore them or get rid of them so we can get on with 'real' or more 'significant' ministry.  I know I am guilty of that at times.  Presently we have someone who float in and out of our ministry.  They are extremely broken by sin.  They are emotionally needy, uncooperative, unappreciative, and ungrateful.  They are rude and accusatory when we do not give into their attempts to manipulate.  We have bent over backwards to minister to them.  At times I have patience and compassion yet at other times I want to tell them off or cut them off.  Yet, Jesus calls me to minister to the likes of these even when it is inconvenient and they are not grateful for my help.  Lord, continue to shape my heart, our hearts to be like your heart so we will not ignore the blind Bartimaeus' of our world!

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