Empty Hands....Full Hearts

  "Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to Him. 'Teacher,' they said, 'we want You to do us a favor.' 'What is it?' He asked. 'In Your glorious Kingdom, we want to sit in places of honor next to you,' they said, 'one at Your right and the other at Your left.' " Mark 10:35-37...."When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout out, 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.'......When Jesus heard him, He stopped and said, 'Tell him to come here.'.....Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus. 'What do you want Me to do for you?' Jesus asked. 'Teacher,' the blind man said, 'I want to see.' " Mark 10:47,49, 50-51


A friend and I were talking today and the above Scriptures came into the conversation. My friend spoke of the vast difference in the two requests made first by James and John, and then by blind Bartimaeus. He said James and John's request was all about position, "appearance." They wanted a place of prominence. They wanted to be seen. He then said that Bartimaeus, though blind, had an inner sight that recognized, as Jesus passed by, that He was far more than a man. He was the Son of David. The Messiah. Bartimaeus wanted to see. I think more than anything, he wanted to see Jesus. James and John wanted to be seen.. Who are we really most like?


What do the pleas of our hearts really focus on? As I heard someone put it once, if He does answer our prayer(s), how much of the answer makes us the main benefactor? So much of what we pray, even when it comes to asking for the advance of His Kingdom in the lives and situations around, will bring about lives made easier, better, more comfortable by His answering and giving? As my friend put it, a lot of what we pray for and seek contains a "mixture." Mixed in with pure desire will be a good deal of self-interest. Such mixture is never pleasing to God. Pastors pray for souls, but "mixed" in is also a desire for a growing church, and the applause and recognition that go with it. We pray for difficult people, situations, and so on to be made right, but mixed in is the desire that if He will do so, our lives will become easier as well. We ask for many things that will benefit others for sure, but we seek a benefit for ourselves too. Often, the "self" motivation is stronger than the "others" focus. We seek the advancement of His Kingdom while at the same time seeking the expansion of our own, or the improving of someone else's lot, which will also improve ours.

Years ago I attended a church sponsored seminar that had as one of its central themes, "You can get anything you want if you just help enough other people get what they want." One look at that cannot but show where the real interest lies. "Getting" is the goal. How much of our prayer life, our walk here, is about that? A.W. Tozer said, "The greater your contentment with your daily circumstances in this world, the greater your defection from the ranks of God's pilgrims en route to a city whose architect and builder is God Himself." Contentment. Comfort, Well-being. Position. Provision. Protection. Where does surrender, obedience, and the cross they will surely lead us to come into play for you and me?


I have walked far more in the spirit and attitude of James and John in this life than I have of Bartimaeus. I have sought my place far more than His. I have wanted to see things come to fruition for my benefit more than for His glory. I have wanted to see results that blessed me more than the blessing of seeing Him. Mark Batterson said the rich young ruler left Christ's presence with full hands and an empty heart. Have often have we? How often will we continue to? May our foremost yearning be to see. Not with eyes of flesh, but of His Spirit. To more and more see all as He sees, and in the midst of it, to see Him as He is. To live before Him not with grasping hands, but giving ones. Empty hands that release all to Him, and in return, live with hearts full of His life and presence. He asks us what we would like Him to do for us? May it be that we, like Bartimaeus, truly receive our sight...that we may at last.....see.

Pastor O







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   May 2019   
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