Jesus was once approached by a man with a disability who asked him for help. The response the man received was a surprising one indeed, but was Jesus right?
This man gave Jesus a sob story of how difficult life was for him and how he had no-one to help him with things. Jesus’ response was, “Pick up your mat and walk.”
We all have circumstances, at least at some point in our lives, where things go wrong and we are disadvantaged. Sometimes we are dealt huge blows in life. Mental illness, homelessness, poverty and trauma can be some of the issues that cause disadvantage.
At the end of the day, no matter what our circumstances or what life has thrown at us, we are responsible for our lives. When we leave responsibility to others, nothing gets done.
One great radio presenter, Earl Nightingale, has been roughly quoted as saying, “There are two types of people: some who are dictated by life’s circumstances and some who get up and find the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”
The words Christ said to this man are ones we can all benefit from. Jesus instructed the man, who initially only wanted sympathy, to take responsibility for his situation and get up and do something. It worked. The man stood up and was healed.
I’m not suggesting we should tell anyone with either a disability or who is homeless to “pick up their mat and walk” and expect miracles to happen as readily as it happened for Christ, or that we should say it at all. We need to use balance and wisdom.
I am suggesting that we take a look at our own lives and assess whether we are sitting around waiting for someone to come and help us when we need to be getting up and doing something ourselves (not that there aren’t times when we legitimately need help from others).
No-one else can make us more educated, wiser, stronger, influential or powerful. We are the only ones, with God, who can do something about these things. Yes, Christ gave hard advice to this man. Could you imagine saying those words to a homeless person who has fallen through the cracks? Do we dare?
Given in love, this advice can be the best remedy for a broken life. I know how hard it is to take this advice, but I also know how beneficial it is too.
I had a metaphoric limp in life and was unable to ‘walk’, but after years of taking responsibility and getting up and on with things, I can now say my life is great and I look forward to a shiny future.
If I want to be rich, if I want to be educated, if I want to see any of my dreams come to pass, I must take responsibility for them no matter how hard it may be. Keep in mind, often the harder things make for the greatest testimonies and stories.
Let’s all say, “I have picked up my mat and I walk!”
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