Ask someone how they are doing, and they will likely tell you how busy they are. We seem to be always busy – demanding jobs and active families with children involved in numerous activities often results in our rushing from one place to another.
The Gospel of Mark reports that as Jesus, his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar beside the road, heard that it was Jesus who was passing by and he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those standing nearby rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the louder, “Son of David have mercy on me!”
Above the din of the crowd Jesus hears this man call out to him as the heir to King David. Ironically, Bartimaeus, the beggar, may have known who Jesus was better than the disciples and the crowd following him – “King of kings, Lord of lords, Sovereign of the universe,” titles attributed to Jesus in Isaiah 9:6-7. Bartimaeus is appealing to the King, and the King has stopped to hear his plea.
Jesus responds by asking, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimeaus says, “Rabbi, I want to see.” Jesus says, “Go, your faith has healed you. Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Are you willing to stop what you are doing to respond to someone in need? Sometimes I have stopped; sometimes I have passed by.
One evening when I was driving to a meeting, I came upon a man who had just been hit by a pick-up truck as he was crossing the road with a grocery cart. The man was on the street in front of the truck and the grocery cart was under the truck. As one of the first on the scene, I immediately pulled into an adjacent parking lot and ran to him. I kneeled down to see how he was. As the sound of sirens approached, he asked me if he was going to die. I said, “No, you are not going to die,” and started praying with him as a crowd gathered around. The rescue squad arrived and pushed me aside. They put him on a board and took him to a nearby hospital. I inquired of the hospital, but since I didn’t know his name, was never able to learn whether he lived or died.
In reflecting on the moment, I came to understand that I was the King’s delegate that evening and the King wanted me to stop and let the man know that whatever his physical condition, he wasn’t going to die, but would live for eternity.
There is blessing in stopping. Are you willing to listen above the din of the crowd and resist the pace of the moment to stop – and respond to the need of another on behalf of the King?