Carrying Other People
People are self-centred — perhaps more than any other time in history. Urban migration, pressures of work and the demands of the family have left us with very little time for our friends. When we do have some time, we wish to relax and unwind in our own privacy. There is a lack of interest in spending time with other people, to be concerned for them and to share in their struggles.
But as people of Christ, we are commanded to share with others the good news of God’s saving grace through the Lord Jesus. Unsaved people do not know how to trust in Christ and we need to lead the way for them to follow.
Just like the four friends in Mark 2:1-12, we need to carry our friend who is “paralysed” by sin and suffering to be healed by the Lord Jesus.
The above passage tells of four (4) principles that we need to observe when we consider carrying other people. So, how do we carry others?
Firstly, we need to carry our friends. This means we need to befriend others and earn their trust so that they will allow us to carry them to where they can find help.
The American poet, Will Rogers said that, to him strangers do not exist. They are just friends that he has not yet met.
Around The Corner – Don’t be too busy for your friends
Around the corner I have a friend,
In this great city that has no end.
Yet days go by and weeks rush on,
And before I know it a year is gone,
And I never see my old friend’s face;
For life is a swift and terrible race.
He knows I like him just as well
As in the days when I rang his bell
And he rang mine. We were younger then—
And now we are busy, tired men—
Tired with playing a foolish game;
Tired with trying to make a name.
“Tomorrow,” I say, “I will call on Jim,
Just to show that I’m thinking of him.”
But tomorrow comes—and tomorrow goes;
And the distance between us grows and grows.
Around the corner!—yet miles away…
“Here’s a telegram, sir.”“Jim died today.”
And that’s what we get—and deserve in the end—
Around the corner, a vanished friend.
– Henson Towne
Friendship Defined – Making New Friends
A British publication once offered a prize for the best definition of a friend. Among the thousands of answers received were the following:
“One who multiplies joys, divides grief, and whose honesty is inviolable.”
“One who understands our silence.”
“A volume of sympathy bound in cloth.”
“A watch that beats true for all time and never runs down.”
The winning definition read:
“A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.”
Bits and Pieces, July, 1991
How to Make Friends
– Gracious in Speech
11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend .
– Earnest Counsel
9 Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel. Prov 27:9
- Prosperity begets friends, adversity proves them.
- A small boy defined a friend as “Someone who knows all about you and likes you just the same.”
- A friend is the first person who comes in when the whole world goes out. – Henry Durbanville
Secondly, we need to carry our friends to Jesus. The direction we bring them towards is the Lord Jesus Christ. The four friends brought the paralytic to Jesus. Our friendships must be intentional. It is not helpful to carry our friends all over the place, no matter how enjoyable that is to him.
Often Christians get so caught up with helping their friends they forget to take their friend to the Lord Jesus, the best Helper available. Jesus, promises complete help — help for the body, soul and spirit. We have seen Him change lives. He makes a difference!
Children called to come to Jesus
15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Luke 18:15-16
All the sick and demon-possessed
32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. Mark 1:32
40 When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. Luke 4:40
2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb 12:2
Thirdly, we need to carry our friends above other people. When the four friends saw the crowded house, they lifted their sick friend above all the other people.
This calls for creativity and a willingness to expend effort and finance (roof repairs!) to get our friend to Jesus. Many today do not have a passion for souls. If anything, the effort at soul winning is pathetic. We say a prayer now and then for our friend.
The presentation of the gospel is ignored and if we manage to squeeze something in, we hardly persevere when the initial response is not enthusiastic. We need to work harder! Like the four friends we need creativity, we need to give priority to salvation of our friends. We need to eat souls, sleep souls and even dream souls!
The eternal destiny of our friends must so occupy us that on occasions, even our loved ones need to take second place. We need to carry them above other people.
When Dwight L. Moody was in London during one of his famous evangelistic tours, several British clergymen visited him. They wanted to know how and why this poorly educated American was so effective in winning throngs of people to Christ. Moody took the three men to the window of his hotel room and asked each in turn what he saw. One by one, the men described the people in the park below. Then Moody looked out the window with tears rolling down his cheeks. “What do you see, Mr. Moody?” asked one of the men.
“I see countless thousands of souls that will one day spend eternity in hell if they do not find the Savior.”
Obviously, D. L. Moody saw people differently than the average observer does. And because he saw eternal souls where others saw only people strolling in a park, Moody approached life with a different agenda.
Are We Willing to Pay the Price?
Are we as evangelical Christians willing to pay the price? The choice that each of us makes will mean the difference between the kingdom advancing or retreating.
Graham Staines, martyred recently in India, and his wife Gladys answered the call. Today, the godly example of Gladys Staines, who has openly forgiven the murderers of her husband and two young sons, is piercing the hearts of millions in India. Her forgiveness of such brutality is being seen as “true spirituality” which is inherently attractive to the Hindu mind.
This “true spirituality” is what our relativistic post-modern world is crying out for. The world is looking for truth that is lived out with conviction, passion and changed lives. Each of us must decide whether we are ready to present this kind of “true spirituality” to a waiting world regardless of the price we must pay.
After the murder of her husband and two sons, Gladys Staines said, “The thought of getting up and leaving has just not occurred to me once. I just feel that this is where God has called me.”
Even after all that she has suffered and the terrible price she has had to pay in serving Christ, she is not willing to turn from God’s calling on her life. Her terrible suffering has not diminished any of the “apostolic passion” that first led her and her husband to India. May we also similarly resolve not to turn from God’s calling on our lives and to commit ourselves anew to reaching the unreached peoples regardless of the cost. God’s glory and worship among the nations are worth it.
And finally, we need to carry our friends by faith. In Mark 2:5, Jesus saves the paralytic because of the faith of his friends. Similarly, we can bring our friends to the Lord and asks that He save them. No doubt each person needs to exercise his own freewill to choose the Lord in order to be saved. But we can pray that the Lord will bring about the right circumstances for that person to put his trust in Him. How many mothers have prayed for their children’s salvation and how many have had their prayers answered!
The African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet. Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a 3-foot wall. The animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will fall.
Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see, and with faith we are freed from the flimsy enclosures of life that only fear allows to entrap us. – John Emmons
My husband, Ron, once taught a class of mentally impaired teenagers. Looking at his students’ capabilities rather than their limitations, Ron got them to play chess, restore furniture and repair electrical appliances. Most important, he taught them to believe in themselves. Young Bobby soon proved how well he had learned that last lesson. One day he brought in a broken toaster to repair. He carried the toaster tucked under one arm, and a half-loaf of bread under the other. – Edna Butterfield
The story is told of a group of people in Kansas who after a long drought came together to pray for rain. As they met, they discovered only one young gal had brought an umbrella with her.
Faith is the ability to see God in every situation. It is the voice of faith that sings:
Expect a miracle everyday,
Expect a miracle when you pray;
If you expect it, God will find a way,
To perform a miracle for you today.
We are living in perilous last days. We need to make our lives count. Indeed he who wins souls is wise. We must look beyond our own personal problems and look out for others. Who are you carrying to Jesus today?