Blessed be the mat carriers

People who know me and the three or four followers I have on social media (you know who you are) have heard me threaten to write a book for the past several years… “People Suck”, subtitle “…and, we’re all people”.  I am already working on a sequel to my unwritten masterpiece…  “Years suck too – 2020” (mic drops).

This little revelation brought to you by Captain Obvious…2020 has been a horrible year.  I haven’t encountered one, not one person, who has gleefully exclaimed how it has been a great one for them.  I’m confident that there are some that have had happy moments in their 2020.  I have personally had some phenomenal moments in 2020 despite the overall suckage.

No doubt 2020 has brought challenges and strains the likes of which the planet simply hasn’t seen.  Whether real, perceived, or fabricated – the events of 2020 and the result have all led to the same outcome – disruption on a scale most have never experienced.  Our ‘way of life’ likely never goes back to how it was…even with the planet vaccinated. 

Observation 1

Let me share a revelation…we need one another.

Oh, I get that there are people who go it alone through life and I understand that that does happen…what I am saying is that we were not designed to be alone.  We’re absolutely designed for relationship and community.  This is crystal clear to me in the description of the Church in Scripture [Rom 12:4-5].

I love the account in the gospels of the lame man (paralytic) carried on a mat by his friends to Jesus [Mark 2:1-12].  There are so many aspects of this that are important for us to note – this year in particular, I have a special appreciation for the lame man’s friends who carried him.

You see…he needed them.  The lame man’s friends were necessary…critical.  How else was he ever going to have a chance at being in the presence of Jesus if he couldn’t walk?  Without friends, at least serving as messengers, there would be no possibility of pleading with the Lord to come and visit the man and ultimately to heal him.

Observation 2

So here we see ‘what’ in action?  Love.

The lame man’s friends were so determined to get their friend help that they crashed a party and demolished a house to make it happen.  The Great Physician knowing that the lame man’s spiritual health was far more important than his physical health healed him spiritually [Mark 2:5]…and then healed him physically [Mark 2:11].  It’s an amazing scene…as usual, with indignation the ones that don’t understand and don’t get it criticize – who does this fellow think he is?!

I’ll tell you – HE is the Messiah [John 4:26], The One Who spoke the universe into existence [John 1:1-4]…that cloaked Himself in human flesh [Luke 2:10-14], to live a perfect life that we wouldn’t [2Corinthians 5:21], to die an atoning death that we couldn’t [1Peter 2:24], and to defeat death with a bodily resurrection that is THE exclamation point in all of history – past, present, or future [Luke 24]!

Observation 3

I am the lame man.

Metaphorically we all are [Romans 3:23]…regardless of the camp you find yourself in theologically – you need healing.

I praise GOD that He opened my eyes to the incredible acts of love that this year has brought.  My friends and mat carriers have:

  • housed me
  • fed me
  • listened to me
  • cried with me
  • given me a job
  • had me for a meal
  • played games with me
  • taken me out for a meal
  • jumped out of a perfectly good airplane with me
  • sat in a hot tub with me
  • fished with me
  • encouraged me
  • preached to me
  • carried every last one of my earthly belongings
  • and most importantly…carried me.

Whether they realized it or not I continue to find myself in the presence of GOD because of them.  And I am so very grateful.

All of humanity is on the mat…I believe we are invited to join GOD in what He is doing by becoming a mat carrier in the lives of the people we encounter and do life with. 

In being brought to Jesus, I am confronted with my need for forgiveness of sin and compelled to trust (place and maintain) in HIM and nothing else for my eternity [Ephesians 2:8-9].

Final Observation

A baby in fact did change everything…Merry Christmas!