Jesus asks the simplest kind of question – The kind that can be answered with a yes or no. “Do you want to get well?” The man’s answer is none of the above. “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me get into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” (John 5:17) In the book titled, “The End of Me” Author/Pastor Kyle Idleman writes these words: Jesus has just been briefed on this situation, probably while this disabled man sat and listened. SO when Jesus looks down and asks if he wants to be well, the man knows that his own motives are being called into question. And he launches into his well-worn excuse. It boils down to I can’t. When my daughters were young, Ashley and I taught them that the word can’t is profanity. I am so glad Ashley and I created a home with such boundaries, lessons, and lines. When someone continually focuses themselves and others on the negative or on all the reasons why “we can’t” maybe that is the time the church should say, stop playing life safe. In one church I served, a man would constantly be rough and negative towards leadership. Most people in the church family would say, well that’s just Mike, he’s always been that way. Maybe even hoping that with time ‘old’ Mike will get better. We can’t confront him. I wanted on many occasions to simply ask Why? I know the answers people give. Inaction in the name of peace and everyone getting along just in the name of getting along, never brings change or growth. We actually fall into the trap of stagnation. If you view is that Mike will never get better, we are already going against a redeeming Jesus. Our motive has to be love. If the church leadership never addresses Mike, he won’t change and will actually be used to keep the church from Kingdom growth because he won’t change and nobody wants to be around nastiness and arrogance. When we say, “well that’s just Mike,” we are saying that Mike “can’t” get well. We are saying it without even saying it. I believe in better out of myself, my life, my journey, and my church folks. Jesus seems to shout at the invalid after the “I can’t” excuse. We might even be seeing Jesus’ demand better out of him when he says, “get up, pick up your mat and walk!” So if things are so bad for you, find somewhere that things are not bad. For the “Mikes” that stay. It’s time to put a smile on your face and embrace all of the good that God is doing right here. In the book Happiness Is A Choice by Frank Minirth and Paul Meier, they tackle depression head-on. In that book, the authors discuss the tendency of Christians to say, “ I can’t” or “we can’t” right when people are actually getting better and moving forward. Maybe “can’t” should be profanity for us. For we are God’s church. True believers know and embrace the fact that nothing is impossible with God. (Matt. 19:26) You are Lakeview. Your future is very bright because you people really do want to get well… even Mike.
Until the nets are full,