Here’s a little story that caught my eye this evening. The story of Jesus healing a man’s withered, dried up, unusable hand.
“He went on from there and entered their synagogue. And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” – so that they might accuse him. He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.” (Matthew 12:9-14 ESV)
There’s a word in this story for the Body of Christ:
We, the Church, have bought the evil one’s lie. A lie that accepts minimal effort, half-hearted faith, and small-minded Christianity as the norm. And, for the most part (in experience, not in doctrine), we’re content to believe in a God who really isn’t as powerful as he claims.
We have decided it’s much easier to leave part of the Body dried up and impotent, than to push past church traditions of doubt and unbelief, and press into God’s presence to get what we really need to reach a world for Jesus.
We’ve become satisfied in our present condition. As long as there’s a “good hand” we need not be concerned about opportunities that “slip through” our mangled fingers. Since someone else is able and willing to work; well, isn’t that what really matters?
Jesus wants to make us whole. Complete. He wants each part of his Body functioning in love and mercy, grace and power. He yearns for his life-giving power to flow through each and every one of us.
Church, it’s time for us to “stretch out our hand” at the command of the Lord. Tear up our list of excuses for failure. Lay our withered passion and faith before the Lord and hear him say, “Be whole!”
And then ignore the one’s who still say, “It won’t work.”