Ministering to the Least (Part 3)

On the surface, life can be cruel. Circumstances and situations leave us feeling sorry for others, where we cannot do anything. Yet sometimes a challenge actually serves a purpose as we examine Jesus’ encounter with a man who was born without sight…

John 9:1-2

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

That’s a “special needs situation.” The man needed to be guided everywhere. What the disciples asked Jesus was a common question from parents faced with similar circumstances—“What did I do to deserve this?”

Continuing on a series of posts that began here, we’ll take a look at some of the teachings of Dr. Tony Evans from his sermon series titled #Second: Rekindling a Heart for Others—Ministering to the Least.

John 9:3-5

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

In other words, Jesus responds with “He’s not blind because he sinned, he is blind because I have a plan for him.” All of a sudden, this special needs individual is REALLY SPECIAL. He was born with a challenge AND a purpose—to fulfill the need of God. So the next time one of these individuals crosses your path, trying viewing their situation from another angle, because there could be a message from above coming your way through them!

The Story of Joni Eareckson Tada

Dr. Evans speaks of a friend of his named Joni Eareckson Tada. When Joni was a teenager she dove into a lake to go swimming and hit her head on a rock. The event physically disabled her for all of her adult life. Today, she has one of the largest ministries in the world dedicated to helping disabled people discover the love of Christ. So here God allowed a negative take place in order to do a positive for His Kingdom. Even though on the surface, it was tragic, God still had a purpose and a positive for the injury. And now millions of people who have similar injuries or disabilities have a place to go to to be healed if they are hurting.

Paraphrasing Joni, Dr. Evans’ relayed her current outlook, “If I could turn back the hands of time and not go to that lake and not do that dive—if I could do that, I wouldn’t do it—because my experience with God has been so rich. And my ministry impact has been so great that I could have never hoped to have this kind of impact walking how you all walk. God has used a mess and allowed me to minister with a miracle.”

In fact, every week Dr. Evans is reminded of the same thing. He tells of a young man who cannot hear and cannot speak as he sits in the front row each Sunday during the first service at his church. He never misses a single sermon. And after the sermon, he walks over to Dr. Evans, and motions for him to look at the man’s suit, as if to say “Do I look okay, Pastor?” And every week, Evans gives him a nod of approval. The young man is just looking for an “okay.” Almost as if to say, “Pastor, are you too big to tell me I’m okay?”

And every week through that young man that God has placed in his path, Dr. Evans is reminded to minister to what society calls “the least.”

That young man will never do anything for him. He cannot hear. He cannot speak. But Jesus conveys that even if you give a cup of cold water in My name, I will never forget that.

Spiritual Blindness

Then there are some who can see perfectly the physical realm, but in the invisible, they are spiritually blind. As we continue on in the passage with the blind man…

John 9:6-12

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

In order for Jesus to use his saliva, it had to have come out of His mouth. Let’s remember that God created man from the dirt. So what you have here is the voice of God mixing with the humanity of man. The Word of God and the dirt of man being co-mingled. The same thing we read in Genesis when man was created from the dirt. And now He told the man to “go” and become a testament to the world of His miracle.

Being spit on is kinda gross. But look past the surface to see the true meaning here. Jesus is implying that if you will ever let His word touch your humanity to such a degree that you do what He says, then you can experience a miracle in your life. Here was a man, blinded from birth who allowed God to touch his life, and as a result, he saw some stuff that he had never seen before.

God wants to show you things you’ve never imagined, lead you to places you’ve never visited, guide you in situations that you have yet to experience. The only problem is we can’t see it where we’re at now. We could be more blinded spiritually, than we ever recognized. How did the blind man know that seeing was even an option if he never even knew it to exist altogether in his own circumstance? How do you know that what you have is all to be had, if God’s Word cannot touch your humanity and open you up to things you have never even fathomed?

Unfortunately, there will be many people who amen this message, yet not do anything with it, and they will stay blinded by the distractions of the world.

John 9:39

Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

Jesus chose a blind man to teach us a spiritual lesson. Why? Because “if you’re already seeing, because you think you know it all…you’ll stay blind as a spiritual bat,” as Dr. Evans puts it rather well.

If we’re already convinced that we’re experiencing life to the extent of what we think we’ve seen all that it can offer, well, we won’t ever need Him to show us anything more. Some of us would rather try to handle life on our own terms than submit to His authority. And His response is, “okay, then you’ll spend the rest of your life trying to make it out there on your own. But you’ll stay blinded by your own quest until you allow Me to open your eyes and show you something bigger than just you.”