By Ken Stalls, BCM/D President and Pastor of South End Baptist Church, Frederick, Md.
We all are tempted to just simply give up and give in from time to time. Frustrations mount upon frustrations and the will to keep on erodes to nothing. Unfortunately, that reality often applies to those doing God’s work as well. Here in our own convention, this malady can afflict us as well.
We are all painfully aware of the magnitude of the task before us. In spite of the fact that we know we serve the Almighty King of Kings, our Lord Jesus Christ, we sometimes stop short of the mark that our Lord lays out before us.
I have found that one New Testament character often inspires me to keep on keeping on in the blind man we know as Bartimaeus from Mark 10:46-52.
One day as Jesus and His disciples were leaving the ancient town of Jericho, they were confronted by a blind beggar named Bartimaeus. When he heard that it was Jesus who was passing by, Bartimaeus began to shout out, “Son of David, Jesus, have mercy on me!” The scripture said that many people scolded him telling him to keep quiet, but he continued calling out all the more, “Have mercy on me, Son of David!”
Finally, Jesus came near to him and said, “Call him.” I feel fairly certain that it was with great reluctance that the crowd told Bartimaeus to “Have courage! Get up; He’s calling for you.” In his excitement, Bartimaeus threw off his coat and jumped up and came to Jesus.
Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Bartimaeus pleaded, “Teacher, I want to see.”
Jesus responded to him, “Go your way. Your faith has healed you.”
Immediately he could see and he began to follow Jesus on the road.
What if Bartimaeus would have given up? It would have been so easy to do so. Consider his excuses: I am poor and a nobody. I am blind, and can’t even see Him. There are far more important and needy people in this crowd. All of these people are telling me to keep quiet. In spite of all the reasons to keep quiet, he refused and kept on keeping on in his quest for healing for his blind eyes. I am so very thankful that he kept on and received his sight and even more, I am thankful for why he received his sight. Remember that Jesus said, “Your faith has healed you.” Jesus had all the right in the world to claim that He had healed this poor beggar, but He did not say that. Because of the persistence of his faith, Jesus told him that it was his own faith that brought his healing.
How many times have we missed seeing a mighty miracle of God because we stopped short of what God expected of us? How often have we paid more attention to the “boo birds of life” than to the Lord of Lords and therefore missed a truly “God-sized blessing?” There is a real value in persistence and especially when it comes to our efforts to serve our Lord.
Let us all commit ourselves to learning the lesson of Bartimaeus. When the Boo Birds of Life scream the loudest, let’s be sure to dig in most fervently and refuse to quit. The miracle of God’s choosing may be just around the corner awaiting us. Brothers and Sisters, keep on keeping on for Jesus!