Based on Mark 10:46-52
Today marks the 6th anniversary of WakeUpCall. Launched on the 5th November 2001, this is the 249th edition. You can find all the previous editions in the archives. WakeUpCall, like everything WorkNet has produced over the last 10yrs, tries to help you see things differently. A different view of work, faith, and most of all the work of Christ which will help you see connections between his life’s journey and yours. Until you see the potency of the work of Jesus and his ability to rescue your day to day activity you are not really experiencing the full journey. It is more like sitting at the side of the road than actually travelling.
Such is the road from Jericho. Jesus, his team, and a large crowd are heading from Jericho towards Jerusalem. At the Jericho end of the road sat a man who, although could not see physically, saw an un-missable opportunity.
In the moments that are described, this individual’s way of life changed radically from begging beside the road to following Jesus along the road.
There are so many tasty lessons in this story that you would do well to eat slowly. The first course is that Bartimaeus refused to miss the moment. His life was not what he wanted it to be – he was not fulfilling his potential; he was far too dependent on others and experiencing stressful humiliation on a daily basis.
Far too many people – including Christians – are in an unsatisfactory position such as this; not really going anywhere, missing out on the party of life and work and feeding on scraps of encouragement rather than experiencing a fulfilling career path. It’s painful, dissatisfying and unrewarding.
The moment of opportunity which came his way was a walk-past by the only person on earth who could transform his life and revolutionise his lifestyle. Using his good senses to overcome his disability, he makes his request in no uncertain terms. This was not going to be easy.
It’s not easy to get past the obstacles and encounter the real Jesus of Nazareth. Internal discouragement, lethargy or cynicism can hold you back. People will tell you to stop being so obsessed or embarrassing. But that is because other people don’t always see the truth that this Jesus is relevant to your actual situation. Maybe you don’t think Jesus can understand your job concerns this week. Perhaps your IT problems or business challenges are too complex for him. Maybe you have concluded that you must settle for a dissatisfying, unfulfilling daily grind. If you have overcome your own personal inhibition, your peers will certainly not encourage you to take career counselling from a carpenter.
But you will have to drown out all these voices if you want to seize the moment. And as you cry out for mercy from your position of struggle you will find the second course of our meal.
Jesus will call out to you. When he does you must not hide. No cloak of workaholic behaviour, busy-ness or fear must get in the way. Throw it off and be real, open and honest, because he will ask you the most searching of all questions. It is the question on the road from Jericho:“What do you want me to do for you?”
You would do well to savour this question. It is a favourite of Jesus in clarifying vision. His first words in John’s gospel are “What do you want?” In fact the whole of John’s gospel can be seen as a commentary on that question and the responses it evokes. You may have been sitting in your workplace, whether an office, school,r home base or wherever you work thinking that serving the Lord is about what you do for him. But according to Jesus’ personal mission statement he didn’t come to be served but to serve.
I suggest to you that part of the reason for your working malaise could be that you have not yet seen this question as relevant to your specific working circumstances. Bartimaeus (third course is coming) was totally focussed and specific: “I want to see”. It was not money, food or housing he asked for even though as a beggar he would have been short of all these resources. His problem was that he couldn’t see and when you can’t see you want to see – and he was now talking to the only person who could fix that.
Don’t be put off here. There is only one person who can bring meaning, purpose and VISION to your daily life and work. Until you can really see you will miss out on your gifting, talents and potential. Until you can see Jesus and his potent relevance to your actual issues you will be feeding off scraps.
When he has done this for you, then you move from bystander to follower, from inactivity to creativity, from darkness to light. It has to be in this order and it will be a recurring experience.
When you read the story and taste the lessons you may see yourself in the role of Bartimaeus. You may identify yourself with him: pre-, post- or during his transformation, and you may well consider that you have now joined the crowd on the road.
But there is one very tasty dessert and coffee still to be had. Jesus turned to those closest to him and told them to call the blind man. The more you see and the closer you stand to Jesus the more you will be told to call others.
Their message is the same as mine. I have been saying it to you 249 times over the last six years and will continue to do so. “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”
It’s another WakeUpCall.
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. 51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
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