by: Staci Stallings
The Gospel reading last week was about the paralytic man who was carried by his friends to Jesus. I love the spin our pastor put on the story. “What is a faithful friend worth?”
Wow. Good question.
Here is this man who literally cannot help himself. Now, note, his friends are working on the situation. They are not back home feeling sorry for their friend. They are ACTIVELY trying to find a solution. Plus, there’s more than one of them. His friends hear that Jesus is in town, and they pick the man up on his mat to carry him to Jesus.
Do you have friends like that? Do you have friends who will carry you to Jesus in faith? Do you have friends who ACTIVELY look for ways to help you?
If you do, then you know the worth of those friends.
As Visa would say they are… Priceless.
You cannot put a price on faithful friends. You really cannot because what they give you, no money can buy.
They give you hope when things look the bleakest. They give you words of peace and comfort in times of trouble and strife. They are faithful when everyone else has gone. They are ACTIVE in your life. Not just when things are going good, but even when you’re hopeless lying on a mat!
I also love that they worked together. Notice this didn’t devolve into fights about how to proceed or what to do. They saw the problem and the solution, and they teamed up to make it happen.
I think often there are stories in the Old Testament that parallel stories in the New. The parallel for this story is the story of Job and his friends.
Note the difference.
Job’s friends tried to talk him OUT of loving and serving God. They told Job that obviously it was some sin he had committed that heaped the condemnation and punishment on him. In short, they were the antithesis of these faithful friends. The faithful friends did not look at the cause, but for the solution. They didn’t condemn the man. They helped him. They didn’t sit on the trash heap with him and commiserate about the hopelessness of the situation. They picked him up and carried him to God.
The amazing thing is what happened once they got to Jesus.
See, I think some of us would be friends like this if it was easy to be so. If all we had to do was say a few prayers or a few good words, we could probably be that kind of friend. But what happens when we get them to Jesus and there is a barrier? What happens when getting our friend to Jesus is not easy?
Do we say, “Well, we tried. Good luck”?
Or are we, like the faithful friends, willing to go to all lengths to get our friend to the feet of Jesus? No matter what. Think about climbing that roof, and figuring out how to cut that hole, cutting the hole, lowering the friend down… These friends were COMMITTED friends!
Do you have faithful, committed friends?
Are you a faithful and committed friend?
Both are great questions and both are important to work toward. After all, friends like that are priceless!
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