It’s not enough to just turn up

Jesus asked a guy who had lain on a mat beside a healing pool for 38 years,” Do you want to get well?”

After 38 years day in day out doing the same thing of just turning up, what do you think his reply would have been?

The story reminded me of a scene from the Monty Python movie “The Life of Brian,” where a disgruntled beggar walked through a crowd bemoaning the fact, he had now lost his income because some do-gooder healed him of his ailment.

” Do you want to get well?” Jesus asked the man at the pool.

I guess it’s a question we could ask of several people who today are reliant on government aid for an income.

Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge there is a considerable number of people in this country who are unable to take a full active role in life.

But there is also a number who are capable but refuse help to get up off their mats, or couches.

The bible account doesn’t tell us how this invalid got to the pool daily, but he laid there for 38 years.

The account tells us he tried to get into the pool at the right time but was unable to without some aid.

In New Zealand, especially over the past three years a substantial number of people have received help from the government.

Help in this form has been available for over a century.

It was designed as a hand up rather than a handout.

Over the last decade and beyond, New Zealand has experienced huge growth in its economy, at the same time increased dependency on the state has continued to rise.

Fudging figures, all governments grapple with the numbers, because when you have industries calling out for more workers to aid with growing the economy, strangely we see them importing workers.

It’s said repeatedly, there are jobs and opportunities for many New Zealanders to make a better life for themselves and their families.

Like the beggar from the Monty Python movie, they cannot see past their current lifestyle.

The question Jesus asked at the pool is still relevant today,” Do you want to get well?”

In the case of the mat man, his answer was yes after 38 years, but what about those long-term dependents on the state. “Do you want to work?”

We can all draw a conclusion to the answer.

There are many lessons which can be drawn from this account in John 5.

The one that stands out for me is the fact that this guy laid on his mat for 38 years.

He said there was no one to help him into the pool despite being surrounded by a multitude of people.

It was a fair question from Jesus,” Do you want to get well?”

I can’t help thinking that some Christians are like this man.

There are many who sit or lie beside their own pool of misery, because the Church has offended them in some way.

They wait and wait for an apology or is it that they don’t want to be healed and are content with where they are, on the outside.

Are you the Christian who has sat in the same seat for 38 years in a church service on a Sunday, still raising your arms in worship, nodding in agreement with the message, then goes home and never thinks about God until the service next week?

But here’s the thing, both of you are content with where you are.

There is a multitude of people who surround you but neither of you are willing to raise your hand and ask for help.

You both don’t want to get your feet wet; you are not that much different to the person who relies on the government cheque each week.

” Do you want to get well?” Jesus asked?

If you have had a long-term relationship with the government and there really is nothing apart from your laziness, “do you want to be healed:” get up and take your mat and find some work and contribute to society.

If you are the one who is offended by the church,” Do you want to get well?”? get off your mat and go speak to the person who offended you and put the matter right.

If you sit in your seat on a Sunday but haven’t grown in your faith, “do you want to be healed of your complacency?”  Then get out of the seat and ask your Pastor or anyone in that church, for help and guidance.

Without a doubt this account in John has many lessons contained in it.

I have centered only on one, but I encourage you to read it for yourself. and to ponder on the lessons it has

This my friends are not the time to just occupy a space.

Throughout the centuries many Christians have looked towards the second coming of Jesus.

But this is time, we have all be waiting for.

Yes, we can sit on a couch, mat, fence, chair, or even righteous indignation. unless we get of it, we cannot progress.

Right now, we need to be well of what is holding us back from working.

We need to be working, some for their families, some just for their own self-esteem.

For the Christian, we need to work to save as many as we can and point them towards our lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

Before I go, I just want to ask another quick question.

You may not be the one who is the one who needs help, but are you the one who will step over that person as you rush to receive the blessings of Jesus?

” Do you want to get well?” Jesus asked? Only you can answer that question.

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