“Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” Mark 10:49.
What does authentic Christian ministry look like? The Jesus parade coming to a stop is a good example.
The Jesus parade entered Jericho while the Master was on his way to a decisive confrontation with the Jewish establishment in Jerusalem. His betrayal, arrest, condemnation, humiliation, and death occupied his mind during the parade, but the voice of one pleading for mercy was heard above the excitement of the parade.
Jesus disregarded those who sought to silence the man who desperately and urgently needed his attention, and instead halted the parade and said, “Call him here.” Fantastic!! He did not call the man himself but told those who sternly demanded his silence to be his enablers rather than impediments. Jesus dignified the blind beggar —moved him from the wings, from the margins, from the periphery, to the front and center— and placed him in the spotlight —gave him a starring role. This was modelling authentic Christian ministry.
It was not the first time that the disciples were involved in an unsuccessful attempt to hinder the vulnerable and powerless from coming to Jesus for a blessing. They once did it to children (see Matt. 19:13 & 14). In and through Jesus, God reached out with authority and love to include the powerless, vulnerable people in our midst.
Sometimes our role in life is only to relay the good news that “He is calling you” (Mark. 10:49) and to enable others to get closer to Jesus. When Jesus invited the blind man to speak, he told Jesus his desire. Such ministry is required of all followers of Jesus.
Daily we encounter persons who are on the wrong track or the wrong side of the track deliberately, accidentally, or circumstantially. Such persons are often ostracized, marginalized, and deemed valueless and inconsequential. Often, they are not allowed to voice their desires or opinions. Simultaneously, there are often those who believe they know what is best for the vulnerable ones and will volunteer to speak for them. While it is true that there are times when persons need volunteers to speak for them, we should never assume that they have nothing to say.
What a wonderful world it would be if as children and servants of God, we always seek to bring the excluded, marginalized, sinful, minorities, despised, rejected, and dejected to the table and closer to Jesus by informing them that Jesus is calling them, and encourage them to speak.
Thought: Money is not all that the poor need.
Prayer: Jesus, help me to be an enabler for others and not a hindrance. Teach me how to help others to know that you are calling them. Help me to help others articulate their needs and not to assume what they need. For Christ’s sake. Amen.
Bishop Everald L. Galbraith