Today’s readings are Deuteronomy 1-3, Psalm 36, and Luke 5.
The readings for today are chalked full of plenty of great topics one could write on. In Deuteronomy 1-3, Moses recounts everything that has happened to the Israelites in the wilderness. This encompasses God’s rescue and provision keeping His promises many times, as well as their flip flopping back and forth from being “all in” with God to questioning Him and wishing they were back in slavery in Egypt. There are many lessons in those chapters we can apply in our lives today. Psalm 36 speaks of God’s deep, steadfast love. Even Luke 5 covers many topics one could journal on including the calling of some of the disciples and their willingness to trust, drop everything, and follow Him.
With all these great stories, the one that bubbled up to me was in Luke 5:17-26 where Jesus healed a paralytic. This paralytic was only able to be healed because some of his friends carried Him to Jesus and went so far as to lift his bed onto the roof, remove part of the roof, and lower him down to Jesus (Luke 5:18-20). Maybe this story jumps out to me because I just read my brother Chad’s post on Monday about how everyday people can change the world as he referenced Simeon and Anna in Luke 2 (https://www.biblejournal.net/2023/03/13/every-day-people-change-the-world/).
A few years back I mentored a college intern with our company. This intern knew I was a believer and openly shared with me that he was raised in the church but now in his late teens he was questioning whether God was real and whether he truly believed for himself. He was definitely beginning to go more towards the direction away from God. Over a period of about a year he had many deep conversations with me and another person in our office who was also mentoring him and who was a man of faith. Toward the end of his time with our firm he was struggling with some things as we talked in Panera. We sat in a quiet corner uninterrupted, not noticing or hearing much of anything besides our conversation for nearly an hour. When we got to the point of our conversation where I asked to pray for him and was starting to ask him to accept Jesus into his heart..”BAM!” A broomstick fell and smacked so loud on the floor I almost jumped out of my chair. I knew this wasn’t a coincidence. There was no noise the entire time we talked until this. If you believe God is real, then the Satan is also real, and he did not like what was about to happen in our conversation as I was asking my friend to give his heart to Jesus. Needless to say, my friend did not give his heart to Jesus at that moment. I felt disappointed…this was the moment I believed he was going to give his heart to Jesus, but it didn’t happen! A pastor friend of mine once told a similar story where a traffic accident happened on the street while He was praying in a similar way for a friend sitting at a table drinking coffee at a café. Again..Satan is real.
As his time with our firm ended, we stayed in touch some but grew apart as his new professional path and my busy life got in the way. He also had lost regular touch with his other mentor at our firm. However, a few years later, he called me to catch up and let me know he had given his heart to Jesus and was attending church and a small group with his girlfriend who was also a believer. Praise God!
In Luke 5, Jesus called some to be his disciples. They brought many people to believe in Jesus and performed miracles in Jesus’ name both during Jesus’ life here on Earth and after. Some of us will be called to be ministers or employees of the church. As I’ve grown in my faith walk and quite frankly also enjoyed writing for Bible Journal, I’ve at least reflected on whether my current career or work in the ministry would be my true calling. Chad’s post on Monday, the story of my friend, and the story of Luke 5 today reminds me that we don’t have to be in the ministry to bring people to Jesus. In fact, our regular everyday careers and lives outside the ministry may give us even more opportunities to meet and mentor others and bring people to Jesus in way those in ministry may not be able to. When you don’t work for the church, people know it’s not part of your “job”…you just love Jesus and want them to also meet and know Him and His love the way you do.
The story of my friend also reminds me that sometimes we will carry our friends directly to Jesus, and we will get the satisfaction of seeing them healed by giving their life to Jesus right then like in Luke 5. Other times, they won’t make it that far right them. Some we witness to will not give their life to Jesus during the time we are with them or during the time we know them. But, the Holy Spirit does not stop working in their heart and lives and the seeds you plant may come to harvest well after the time you know them. For there are many we witness to that we may never interact with again and will never know if they became a believer. Let that not deter us from sharing the Gospel and fighting the good fight and remembering the impact we can have as everyday people like my brother Chad reminded us.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”