Have you ever met someone who gives the best advice to others but rarely uses the wisdom that they share for themselves? They are the most helpful people who you will ever meet but they seem to lack the ability to accept or ask for the same help. They are usually the people who will help you mold your million dollar idea and cheer you on to victory while doing nothing with their own. They are usually the first to offer support and encourage you on good and bad days but their day seems to go unnoticed.
No one knows that they have goals and dreams because they are too busy pushing others in front of them. I wonder what are they really afraid of and do they realize what they are avoiding?
The truth is that a watchful eye sees the gifts in them but do not want to appear pushy or presumptuous about their intention…unless of course they are like Jesus in the story about the man at the side of the pool in John 5.
I can imagine this man who had been paralyzed for 38 years who finally decided to go the pool at Bethesda encouraging people to go and get what they needed. I can almost hear him sharing wisdom with the people who carried him up the five porches on how to best execute their plans for their future. I can see him in line with the other sick people who may have lost hope encouraging them to take another step towards the pool but when it was his turn…he seemed to have more questions than answers.
Giving advice and encouragement was easier than living it. He was only a few feet away from his desired destination but he let his own negative thoughts defeat him. He could only see obstacles where as if he was talking to someone else they were only challenges that could be overcome. Even though he laid there in line with others seeking the same thing he felt all alone and helpless.
I imagine this once talkative man has no words as he is faced with real change in his life. He would no longer be paralyzed and needing the services of others. The conversations that he once had about others activating their hopes and dreams would now have to be about his own.
Fear and doubt gripped him as he laid there thinking about all the possibilities. He was no longer just physically paralyzed but now mentally paralyzed, too. What was he to do? Should he just make his way back home without trying and unchanged? Should he go all in—taking the risk to get what he went to Bethesda (which means house of mercy) to receive?
His mind was in overload and it seemed that nothing could bring him back to the present moment –until Jesus spoke. Jesus asked the man a simple yet complex question. “Do you want to be well?” That question was loaded with so much yet so little. Jesus was asking him if he really wanted what he went to the pool to receive. He wanted him to know that he was at the edge of change minus his decision to act.
The man still paralyzed by his past and unable to make a positive connection answered with excuses. He told Jesus about the obstacles that seemed to prevent him from getting what he wanted. I guess he must have forgotten that he was not born at the pool so he must have had help to get there. He must have asked someone, right?
Jesus sees through his sincere fear and encourages him just as I imagine that he had done for others. He tells the man to, “Rise up and walk.” Two simple instructions move this man to the action that he desired. He heard the words that he needed to hear to get him out of his mental and physical paralyzed state.
What are you sitting on the sidelines thinking about doing that you need to rise up and begin walking towards? What action do you need to take towards purpose in your life? Encouraging others and cheering them on is noble but God has so much more for you. I challenge you to Rise up and Begin Walking!
Just another day’s journey of reminding myself to not hide behind helping others. Peace.