Addition by Subtraction

Flowers with Keyboard

By: Chaplain Doug Samples

One interesting scenes in the Bible happens in Mark 10 as Jesus is headed toward Jerusalem and the Cross that is waiting for Him there.  Barely a week away from Good Friday, Jesus is going through Jericho when a blind, homeless guy named Bartimaeus starts hollering, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

The disciples try to shhhsh the guy, but he starts wailing even louder, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Now the disciples are really embarrassed by this authentic display of desperate agony and not sure how to contain this awkward situation. Jesus rescues them by inviting the smelly Bartimaeus to come talk to Him.

They go to Bartimaeus and tell him to get his act together before he comes into the presence of Jesus.

Instead, Bartimaeus throws off his “cloak” (or blanket) and goes running half-naked to Jesus! Now, face to face, Jesus asks a simple but deep question: “What do you want me to do for you?”

The response… “I want to see!”

Bible scholars suggest that this cloak/blanket may have been Bartimaeus’ only possession! For years, it had been his security blanket. He usually held on to it for (literally) dear life! But now he throws it aside in order to come face to face with Jesus.

I wonder what you and I need to throw aside in order to draw closer to Jesus? 

What habits, practices, relationships, addictions do we hold onto for dear life… even though they’re not good for us?

I wonder if one simple NO would open a whole new avenue to a deeper relationship with the One who loves you more than anyone else in the world?

I’m not pretending that this simple NO is an easy NO. For many of us, we have to come to a place of desperation where we confess, “My life is unmanageable and out of control.”

Sometimes the way forward is addition by subtraction!

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