WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 5
“And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus,”
Luke 5:18 (ESV)
HELPING PEOPLE FIND THEIR WAY HOME REQUIRES COMPASSION
French impressionist painters Henri Matisse and August Renoir were the closest of friends. Renoir’s health failed, and in the final decades of his life, he was nearly paralyzed with arthritis. Yet, he continued to paint fighting torturous pain with each movement and stroke of the brush. Matisse asked, “August, why do you continue to paint when you are in such agony?” Renoir never looked up. His eyes were fixed on the canvas with complete concentration when he answered, “The beauty remains. The pain passes.”
The four men in Luke 5 were motivated not by the paralyzed man’s spiritual need, but his physical need. John MacArthur makes a good point that “Unlike lepers, the paralyzed were not ostracized from society. They were stigmatized by their condition, however, since many would see all such disabilities as God’s punishment for their sin (cf. John 9:2).” And Jesus used this man’s physical needs as an opportunity to address His spiritual needs.
As we minister to the physical needs in our community, it will open up doors to address their spiritual needs as well. It is not a question of either physical needs or spiritual needs. It’s a question of will we address both types of needs. What physical have you seen in your neighborhood, workplace, school, or family that needs addressing? Do you have compassion for the needs you see? What has God given you that He may want to use to address those needs? Ask God to provide you with a heart of compassion that leads to action.