Daily I try to find those “windows of opportunity” to share my faith. As disciples of Christ, our principal mission in life should be to follow the Great Commission to “go make disciples” (Matthew 28). God has placed two special holidays in the world that provide unique opportunities for us to unwrap the baby Jesus (Christmas) who later died on Calvary’s Cross (Easter) for the sins of mankind.
With the fall season comes many responsibilities associated with preparing our house and yard for the cold winter weather. For me part of that responsibility is draining our ponds. During my childhood I can remember my mother and father being very concerned about me playing around stagnant ponds. One of the most feared diseases of our time was polio, also called “infantile paralysis.” Before a preventative vaccine was developed in the mid-1950s, thousands and thousands of people were afflicted with this paralyzing disease.
In Scripture we also read about those affected by paralysis. Then it was viewed as a hopeless, incurable condition. A few faith-filled friends of a man who was paralyzed experienced the teaching and healing power of a man named Jesus.
As our Lord walked the streets of Capernaum, the hot sun offered no shade so he entered a house for shelter. The large crowd that gathered to hear Jesus prevented the men from entering the congested space with their friend on a stretcher. These persistent companions of the paralyzed man did not want to fail from their mission of compassion so they lifted their friend to the rooftop where they opened a hole in the ceiling to lower him down to the Lord.
“When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven,’” followed by “Get up, take your mat and go home (Mark 2:5, 11).” Because of the faith these men had to bring their friend, the persistence they had to find a way to connect with Jesus, and the willingness to do the difficult thing (digging a hole in a roof), their friend was forgiven of his sins and healed of his incurable disease. WOW!
In a less dramatic way, I suggest that maybe God is asking you to bring someone meet Him at a Christmas program during this special season. There will be many unique Christmas programs, messages, and concerts that testify to the birth and life of Christ that will be held in your community. Like the friends of the paralytic man, I encourage you to make an effort reaching others for Christ. It isn’t always easy, there could be obstacles, and it might cost you a few dollars, but someone you know is facing serious physical or spiritual difficulties and they need to hear about Jesus. There is so much heartache, brokenness, hurt, anger, bitterness, pain, sorrow, and hopelessness in the world. People are looking for an opportunity to meet the One who can really save them from their distress. Jesus is waiting to meet that person and heal them of their affliction.
Be that committed friend and reach out to others during this Christmas season.
Who do you know that is in crisis? What programs are in your area? Can you make a short list of people you can invite to a service? Like Andrew, bring people to pastors like Peter and Paul who can embrace them with love and hope.