Posted by: mikenicholsblog | June 15, 2014

what can I do for you?

While traveling for business last week, I was struck by a cottage industry that has taken hold in the city of Toronto. It seems like this industry has emerged on almost every street, and overall creates much revenue. The industry, you may ask … is begging!  Large numbers of people walk the streets of Toronto every day and are confronted by men and women who simply rattle soft drink cups asking for change.  I never saw anyone contribute to the revenue pool, nor did I, but it’s still sad to see people like you and me, who maybe once lived as regular citizens, reduced to begging.  My intent isn’t to ask help for the poor, or to make you feel guilty.  Rather, I’d like to set the stage for interesting words that came from the lips of Jesus.

One of the street vendors that I passed was a blind man sitting with a cup seeking just a bit of change.  Yesterday in my personal reading from Mark chapter ten, I was confronted by another blind man who sought mercy from the Son of God. On a particular day as Jesus was leaving Jericho, trailed by his disciples and a large crowd others, Bartimaeus sought Him out. If I was blind and a beggar when Jesus of Nazareth, the Great Healer passed by, you can rest assured that I would have done the same thing. Who wouldn’t?

This scene is rich with truths to dive deeper into, such as the fact that Bartimaeus called Jesus the Son of David twice, and then Rabbi. There was also another blind man with him (Matthew 20:30). It’s significant, too, that this is the last healing miracle recorded in the book of Mark. But none of these points grabbed my attention like Jesus’ words, “What can I do for you?” (MSG).

It doesn’t surprise me that a beggar’s voice captured the attention of Jesus. And it doesn’t surprise me that He had compassion on Bartimaeus. It doesn’t surprise me that Jesus touched his blind eyes and gave them sight. It is interesting to me, however, that Jesus asked a question that had an obvious answer. “What can I do for you?” In doing so, Jesus gave Bartimaeus the opportunity to express himself, and even give evidence of his faith.

Every day you and I rub shoulders with, or pass by people who have obvious needs. I am not speaking of beggars on a street corner, but work associates, family members, store clerks, social friends, and so on, and so on. To ask, “what can I do for you,” may not be easy, but it is often what I think Christ would want us to do. There are times when we’ll already know what we can do for someone. The issue for all of us is, will compassion and care outweigh the desire for our personal needs? We can’t help every need, but if we sense His leading we should always ask; “what can I do for you?”

If you are a Christ-follower and today you sense that someone has a need, would you ask, “what can I do for you?” You won’t touch blinded eyes and heal, but you may speak words of hope and healing into a hurting life. And with that, Christ will be pleased.


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