What the Lord Honors
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The Bible shares a story in Luke 5:17-26 (NLT) about some friends of a paralyzed man who believed so much in Jesus’ healing power that they put their creative forces together to cut a hole in the roof of a crowded building, place the man who was paralyzed on a mat, and lower him near Jesus. To many, I’m sure it appeared rather odd, but the friends and the man who needed healing did not concern themselves with appearances.
Their desire was for their friend to walk. Their motives were honorable, and their faith in Jesus was admirable.
There were no vain motives, no sycophant intentions, and no selfish agendas. They were only concerned for their friend’s well-being, and their compassion for him knew no bounds. They would do anything to see him healed. In their minds, the source of the very best healing was not of a medical professional—but from the greatest Healer.
That’s how highly these friends esteemed Jesus. And their paralyzed friend shared that same belief.
Jesus knew all of that. He saw how strong their collective faith was as a whole. But I believe there was one more test. In Luke 5:23, His first words were “your sins are forgiven.” There was no self-righteous pride in the man who was paralyzed. He never acted like a saint, nor did he get defensive trying to act like a good person. Not at all. He received that. And then, he received Jesus’ command to “stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” (Luke 5:24) In response, the man quickly jumped to his feet and obeyed the Lord.
God honored the combined faith of the friends and the man who was paralyzed. And he honored the obedience of the one who was healed.
This story reminds me of my junior year of college in 1987. I owed $75 on my student account and that balance had been there a while. I had received several notices, but I could not gain access to the voicemail box of the landline phone in my dorm room.
Then, in my campus mailbox, I received an urgent notice that if the $75 wasn’t paid on a particular date in the current fall term (at the time), I would not be allowed to attend classes and would be basically kicked out of school. That date was today.
When I told my parents, they said no problem. Write a check, and they’d have the money in the account. Unfortunately, I ran out of checks and did not have an ATM card.
But I did not lose my composure. I never called my parents back. I decided to have faith, walk to the student accounts office, and wait until the deadline of when that $75 was due. I did not have class that day.
I received strange looks from those who were there, but that never bothered me. I did not want to trouble my mother, and I believed God would come through. I’d never done anything like this before. But I did not want to worry Mom.
With 18 minutes left before the deadline, my friend Dave walked in. He said, “Dude, what are you doing here?” When I explained, his eyes got wide.
“You’re never going to guess what happened. I was walking past and I had this sense to walk in. I asked God why. I felt like He said, ‘Just go.’ And guess how much is in my wallet? Dude, yes. Seventy-five dollars! Here.”
I kept offering to pay him back the money when I got paid from my job, but he never accepted it.
That was the truest personal testimony of faith and obedience that I have ever experienced, and it’s always what comes to mind whenever I read Luke 5:17-26.
Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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