Monday, December 1, 2008

Who is carrying your mat?

I’ve written about accountability before but haven’t spent much time on the topic of friendship. Until I read these verses in Mark 2. Here is what 3-4 says:

Some men came, bringing to him (Jesus) a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on.

I have to confess I’ve always missed the tenderness and strength of the friendship these four men showed the paralytic on the mat. First of all, they carried their friend to Jesus, with the hope that he would get healed. When they found the way blocked, they didn’t give up. They got on the roof, made an opening, spent an undetermined amount of time digging through it and then lowered him gently into Christ’s presence.

Is there a better picture of friendship than that? Going wildly out of your way to bring someone into Christ’s presence? Doing anything and everything you can, to connect someone hurting with the love of Christ?

Who is carrying your mat? Do you have four friends like that?

And perhaps more importantly, who’s mat are you carrying?

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blogs for awhile, but this is my first comment. My heart literally jumped into my throat when I read this post as I am (trying to) carry my Matt's mat...Your words reminded me of the importance of standing in the gap for people and knowing that someone is doing the same for me. Add me to your list of readers that say.. your words have blessed me and these particular words have come at just the right time in my life.

Catherine said...

I heard a sermon once (in the-middle-of-nowhere Kentucky) about this passage. The preacher emphasized that our job is not to try to save people, but to bring them to the feet of Jesus, just like the paralytic's friends. That is so freeing for a control freak like me - I just need to bring people to the feet of Jesus. Thanks for your post.

chriscrossing said...

Wow. Short, to the point, and powerful. A great thing to read before heading into my quiet time with God. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Well said Jon. I miss the days gone by with our small group doing just that. MDB

Christy said...

Wow. I've been a christian forever and totally forgot about this story, and definitely needed a reminder today specifically. Thanks Jon!

Donna said...

Thank you, in no particular order:
Julie, Amy, Val, Sharon, Sue, Anita, Jacinda, and Leigh for carry my mat for the past nine years......and giving me the privilege of carrying yours!

Thanks, Jon.......

Soulful said...

I've been unemployed for 11 months; I have a village of family and friends carrying my mat. Even when it doesn't feel like it, I know I am blessed indeed.

Kat said...

The faithfulness and commitment of the "mat carriers" in that account are an encouragement to me. It's so easy to let go of my end of the mat when things get tough. I needed to be reminded.
Thank you.

Alan Knox said...

Great reminder! Thank you! Up until a few years ago, I was so individualistic and proud that I would not have allowed anyone to "carry my mat" or even admitted that I needed a mat. Now, God has surrounded me with friends - brothers and sisters - and I don't see how I could make it through one day without them "carrying my mat".

At the same time, I am learning to carry mats for other people. Serving people is more important to God than most of us realize.

Thanks again!

-Alan

Alison said...

Fabulous as always Jon. I have had about 15 people helping me with my mat this year, and I have a mat that I've been trying to help carry as well. Thanks for reminding me that it's worth it, even if my friend doesn't want me to help with it anymore.

Sylvia Goode Basham said...

I think I would be a bad friend....I always wondered if the friends went through all the trouble because they were tired of helping take care of him day after day after day.

Kind of like, "Here God...YOU take him for a while." I know...bad friend.

Julianna said...

I have learned lately that this is really the best thing that we can do for others. Thanks for the encouragement and reminder!

Ryan B said...

Good post. I actually have a great set of friends. My best friend Rob and I try to emulate Jonathan and David from the OT (only without the dying part). We both have a lot of interest in 1 and 2 Samuel and have study their friendship a lot. It has really helped us grow as friends and as Christians.

We have a lot of other great friends who we both push to live more godly lives and who also challenge us to stay accountable.

I have truly been blessed.

Debra said...

That is some serious TRUTH brother. I have mat carriers and mats I help carry and isn't that the way that God has designed for us to live. Amen and thank you for sharing that.

mandajune said...

Jon, just wanted to stop and let you know that I love your last several posts on this site. Love them even more than the chapter-a-day devotionals. Maybe that's because I'm messy and random and enjoy "short, honest bursts of faith" -- but in any case your bursts push me toward the riches of Christ and for that I am exceedingly thankful. God blesses me with your honesty and insight!

heartafire said...

"who's" should be "whose."

[Offering my editorial/proofreading services for your book.]

heartafire said...

Loved Catherine's comment---
and it also speaks to the other post about the atheist and witnessing.
It is not our "urgent" job to save people but to bring them to Jesus, if only in prayer.

heartafire said...

That "whose" correction was for your last sentence and not for the title.

Great post, by the way. I am blessed to have friends who carry mine, and whose I carry.