One of my favorite stories in the Bible is an outstanding example of friendship and extending a hand-up to someone in need. Jesus had just returned home to Capernaum and word quickly spread that he was back. People were eager to hear him preach and witness the unbelievable miracles he was known for doing.
Down the street, four buddies conspired to bring one of their friends who had become paralyzed to Jesus. Perhaps he could heal their friend and restore him to his former life. But when they arrived at the house where Jesus was, there was such a great crowd of people surrounding the home that they couldn’t carry their injured friend to Jesus.
Did these guys just throw in the towel and give up? No way! These guys came up with a plan that could have come from my somewhat overly inventive brain… they climbed up on the roof… dug a hole through the sod… and using rope as a harness… lowered their friend down right in front of Jesus!
Now here is the crazy-cool part of the story… Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:5 NLT What?! Seeing THEIR faith… The faith of these friends in Jesus was so strong that Jesus met the need they sought for their FRIEND. Mark tells us, And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. Mark 2:12 NLT How often do you think those 5 buddies relived that event? “And then Joey just jumped up and walked out of the house!” “Did you see the looks on the faces of all those people!” “Man, I will never forget that!”
The compelling part of this story to me is the lengths that those guys were willing to go to give their friend a hand-up. And how desperately he needed it! I am so grateful that our church still puts this concept into practice. While we haven’t cut any holes in roofs (but I do have the tools for that and wouldn’t it be a sight!); we do have a vital and effective ministry that seeks to lend a hand to folks who need one.
When you give to the Benevolent Fund in our church, our Deacons use that money to extend a compassionate hand to those who need one. Sometimes these folks are from our church family and sometimes they are folks from the community. Sometimes they are believers and other times not. Some end up attending our church and others don’t. But the reality is God has used that fund to advance His Kingdom. So, on behalf of those who have benefited from the Benevolent Fund… Thank you. Jesus notices your faithfulness.