“And Jesus stopped…” (Mark 10:49)
He was on His way to be crucified. He had just spent many hours answering question after question from those wanting direction: a rich man inquiring about what he must do to inherit eternal life; two of His disciples asking for the promise to sit on either side of Him in glory; countless other pleas for healing, help, and just a few minutes of His time.
Blind Bartimaeus, a beggar who was no doubt overlooked, pushed by, scoffed at and more, cried out for Jesus to have mercy on him. And Jesus stopped. On His way to be beaten, mocked, and killed, the Savior of the world stopped for a blind beggar.
I was undone, hearing a sermon on this passage in Mark many years ago. Listening to the pastor preach, my heart and mind were blown wide open about what it really means to be a follower of Christ.
It means stopping when I may least want to. It means taking time for people who might not always be the easiest. It means recognizing that I am just like Bartimaeus, crying out for help from my Lord, who always stops for me. It means being interrupted, a lot. And it most certainly means that until the day I die, I want to live a life of stopping like my Savior.
I remember hearing a story shared by Paige Benton Brown at a women’s ministry conference. She shared about visiting New York City, where I lived for 21 years, with a group of students. They volunteered at a homeless shelter where they served meals to the residents. After the blessing was given for a particular meal, Paige sat next to a man she’d been talking to before the prayer. Noticing that he didn’t start eating right away, she asked, “Sir, aren’t you hungry?” He replied, “Ma’am, I haven’t eaten in two days. But it’s been a lot longer since someone talked with me, and I’d go days more without food if you’d sit here and talk with me a little more.”
“Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink?…And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:37, 40).
This is the essence of service in the Kingdom. When we serve, we are serving our servant King who exemplified service over and over again when he was here on earth. Here are three things I am learning as I stumble along in service:
1. God never fails to show up.
2. My perception of an interruption is God’s idea of an opportunity.
3. Less of me plus more of Him equals JOY.
Along with the many verses in the Bible that directly address serving are nearly the same amount of stories that exemplify serving. The most perfect example of all is Christ Himself.
In the last verse before the story of blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10, Christ reminds His disciples that “…even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many” (v. 45). There is no greater joy than following Christ’s example. He served. So must I. He stopped. So must I. “For Christ’s love compels us…” (2 Cor. 5:14).