Thursday

Once More: Missing the Best Part



Mark 8:22-25 – They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?" He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around." Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

Isaiah 40:31 – But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength.

It was the fourth quarter and a minute and three seconds remained in the game. Our team was down by 8 points. It was sheer luck that we were this close. The other team, highly ranked in the state, had clearly outplayed us. The visiting team should have been up by two more touchdowns, but they were called back because of holding penalties. I left before the final horn because I can’t stand to sit in traffic after a football game. Anyway, it had been a great game and we did far better against that team than I expected.

Imagine my surprise the next day when I discovered that our team pulled it out! Seconds after I left the other team fumbled the ball, our linebacker scooped it up and ran for a touchdown. We went for the two point conversion and made it. Tied game!

In overtime, our defense held, we scored and Sha-zam! We won! I missed a storybook ending, the best part of the game, all because I didn’t want to sit in traffic. I was in a hurry. My impatience robbed me of the victory celebration.

Mark’s story says the blind man received Jesus’ touch and his eyesight went from darkness to light. He couldn’t see at all before the Lord touched him the first time. Now, at least he could see shapes and forms, but people still looked “like trees walking around.”

What if the blind man would have said, “I can see better than before; I’m good!” He shoots out the door to hurry home, to lunch, or to watch, for the first time, NFL Today.

Don’t smile so quickly. This is us. Grab a little-bit-a-Jesus and run home. It’s our culture. In this day we gear our faith to fit our style, instead of our style conforming to our faith. And while that’s not always bad in itself, there’s a lot of people walking around seeing only half of what God has for them. We get touched enough by the Lord to know there is something out there, but not enough to see it clearly. After being touched one time by Jesus, we see enough to grope about through our life, but not enough to help anyone else through their life.

Here’s the question of the day: What if the blind guy had quickly left Jesus’ presence after receiving the first touch?

It’s what we do, you know. Our culture is definitely not geared to “wait on the Lord.” As a matter of fact, we excel at explaining why we don’t need to drag out a church service, sermon, or song. And yet we don’t have a problem sitting through a three hour sporting event, movie, or video game. This, my friend, is the reason believers today don’t see spiritual reality very clearly. We leave the game way too early!

Here is what’s so sad. We miss the best part because we only stay around for the first part. After the first touch, the blind guy could see people like trees. After the second touch “his eyes were opened…and he saw everything clearly.”

Here’s the deal for us today. Some of you are close enough to Jesus to say you’re different, but you haven’t waited in His presence long enough to get all He has for you. You have some light, but your eyes are not fully opened to all God has in store. Sure, you’ll miss hell, but you’ll never see all heaven has to offer you…here. More than this, without another touch you’ll never be able to bring anyone else to heaven with you. And you know why? You’re in a hurry.

Church leaders (me included) have taught you to start on time and end on time, though those who know me know I don’t do this very well. We read quickly through our morning devotions (if we do that at all), get to church and take advantage of the preacher’s neatly packaged 23 minute sermon that ends at 11:59. This is so sad. Sometimes I get up in the early hours of the morning thinking about us. We see more of God than we did, but not as much as we could because we don’t stay in the presence of Jesus long enough for Him to touch us once more.

Some of you are missing the best part of the game because you haven’t learned to wait. It’s in waiting on the Lord that you get a second touch.

One day, and it may be soon, the game will be over. On eternity's clock there’s only a few minutes left. What a shame it would be if, after the game has ended, you can’t celebrate like everyone else because you left early. The game-ending horn (“the last trump”) sounded and everyone who stayed around danced and cheered, celebrated and shouted! But you couldn’t because you didn’t hang around. You were in a twenty-first century hurry. How sad.

But here’s the good news. It’s not over yet! Time remains on the clock. You still have time to be touched by the Lord and lead others to Him. And the best news of all is, we’re guaranteed that there will be no overtime! We already know, ahead of time—WE WIN!

 

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