Happy Monday, Y’all. It’s a new day and the beginning of a new week of following Jesus into the abundance of life. Let me refill your coffee and let’s visit a bit.
As we continue to prepare together for our Lent journey I want us to be as ready as we can be to ask and answer some challenging questions. Because let’s be honest, easy questions and answers may do a lot for our comfort and boost our egos but they don’t really help us grow, do they? Jesus understands this all too well and uses questions often to help us better hear God’s loving voice.
In John’s telling of the Good News Story of God, Jesus encounters a man who has been sitting by a healing pool for almost 40 years (See the fifth chapter of John). Jesus asks the man, “do you want to get well?” but the man avoids the question. Instead of answering he makes excuses as to why he hasn’t made it to the pool after all this time: no one ever offered to help him and everyone else kept getting in ahead of him.
Regardless of the man’s response, Jesus doesn’t withhold healing. He offers God’s grace freely. The gift of being well is ours, period. This gift comes with (but wait, there’s more!) the understanding that we can’t follow Jesus on the way of wellness if we don’t get up and move when he calls us. Gifts don’t do much good when left in the box. One of the greatest shows of gratitude is to use the gifts God gives us to reflect God’s love to the world around us.
Sitting by the pool doesn’t make us well. Watching other people getting well doesn’t make us well. Passing the blame doesn’t make us well. And, not asking for help does not make us well. Ours is a faith in movement – walking with Jesus toward the abundance of life God desires for all of us. This man by the pool is going to have to learn to live and do everything in a different way than he’s always known. That’s the risk we take when we choose to follow Jesus.
How do you respond to Jesus’ question “Do you want to get well?”
Here’s how the conversation goes for me most every day.
Me: Yes, I think so. Will it hurt?
Jesus: Sometimes. And I’m here to comfort you and be your strength and courage. You’ll be ok. You’ll be better than ok. You’ll never regret it, I promise.
Me: Ok. Can I refill my coffee first?
Jesus: Of course. And would you warm mine up, too, please?
Staying where we are, stuck in our ways, fearful and resistant of change doesn’t make us well1. Looking backwards doesn’t get us there. Refusing to reflect on where we are and where we’ve been with honesty and openness to our own faults doesn’t move us forward.
Receiving the gracious gift of God’s love, hearing Jesus tell us to take up our mat and walk, and accepting that we share the responsibility for our own wellbeing and the wellbeing of each other is what moves us forward into an abundance of life.
So, as we prepare to journey together through Lent, I pray that we all have the ears to hear Jesus ask, “do you want to be well?” It will be worth it, I promise. And I’m certain there will be plenty of coffee.
1Word Nerd side note: the Greek word translated into English as ‘well’ comes from a root word that means “to cause to grow, to increase, to become greater.” Cool, huh?
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