Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to push through the crowd to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach him. So they went up to the roof, took off some tiles, and lowered the sick man down into the crowd, still on his mat, right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “So your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 5:18-20 NLT)
One of my favorite miraculous works of Jesus is the healing of the paralyzed “man on a mat.” This man was totally disabled. He could do nothing to help himself. Couldn’t walk! Couldn’t work! Perhaps couldn’t even feed, clothe, or bathe himself!
Fortunately, he had four friends who were committed to take care of him 24/7. These were men of great faith as is recognized by Jesus in Luke 5, verse 20—“Seeing their (four men) faith, Jesus said to the man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
This brings up the question: How many of us can count on four friends who would be willing to drop everything and come to our aid anytime 24/7? Could we count on 3, 2, or even 1? If you were in urgent need for help during the wee hours of the morning, who would you call? Just suppose an ambulance is not available. Would you feel comfortable in calling on a neighbor? How would a family member feel being awakened at 3 A.M. to come? Could you count on a member of the church to come?
Considering the makeup of today’s society where “independency,” and “privacy,” reign supreme, it would be doubtful if such friends could be counted upon. There no longer seems to be a thread of commonality among neighbors and neighborhoods. An invisible sign is posted on the yard reading “don’t invade my space.” It was not this way in the small town where I grew up. Neighbors helped each other. They communicated on a daily basis. If you weren’t seen around the house, a knock would come to your door to see if everyone was okay. No longer do we have that kind of comradery or interest in people’s needs. It’s everyman for himself.
The paralyzed man was fortunate indeed to have such faithful friends. If you have this kind of relationship with those around you, consider yourself fortunate, and continue to cultivate that relationship—because you are few indeed.
Prayer: Dear Lord, how thankful that You are a friend that sticks closer than a brother.