In Mark 2, four men carrying a fifth, who was paralyzed and confined to a mat, traveled to Capernaum where Jesus was teaching in a home. Upon arrival, they encountered “such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door” (Mark 2:2). Undeterred, they headed to the roof where through relentless effort they created a hole and lowered the paralyzed man into the room.
Jesus paused his teaching to watch the scene develop. Eyes surely ventured from the paralyzed man, now in an awkward and uncomfortable position, to the roof where peering down through the newly formed hole were the dusty and sweaty faces of four men.
These four men are nameless yet vital to the story. These four men put in an extraordinary amount of work in order for there to be an opportunity for change. These four men, realizing they were powerless to heal the man, were empowered by their faith in the one who could heal. In fact, it was “when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man …” (Mark 2:5). Their faith spurred action and gave the paralyzed man the chance at a transformed life.
As believers, our role is that of the four men. We are not judge, jury, healer, fixer or absolute authority. We are the one who carries. We are the one who comes alongside others with the attitude of “I can’t fix it, but I will walk with you and help you carry the weight.”
The men in the story are nameless, but as I write this, names and faces have filled my mind of those whom I have seen walk alongside the hurt, abused, neglected and lost not only to meet the temporal needs but shining the hope of Christ into some very dark places. They exemplify Jesus’ word picture of salt and light in Matthew 5.
Whose life is better today because you have walked with them?
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” –Matthew 5:13-16
Written by David Ummel, who works on the church engagement team for Buckner International and Faith Fosters Texas.