URC Daily Devotion 30 May 2024

Mark 10:46-52

Jesus and his disciples went to Jericho. And as they were leaving, they were followed by a large crowd. A blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus son of Timaeus was sitting beside the road. When he heard that it was Jesus from Nazareth, he shouted, “Jesus, Son of David,have pity on me!”  Many people told the man to stop, but he shouted even louder, “Son of David, have pity on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him over!” They called out to the blind man and said, “Don’t be afraid! Come on! He is calling for you.” 50 The man threw off his coat as he jumped up and ran to Jesus. Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man answered, “Master, I want to see!” Jesus told him, “You may go. Your eyes are healed because of your faith.” At once the man could see, and he went down the road with Jesus.

Reflection 

I love how Jesus doesn’t assume anything and asks a simple and direct question. Kosuke Koyama, a Japanese theologian says, ‘don’t we get the strong impression in the gospels that Jesus was a man who was good at asking questions?’ Yet in our evangelism I’m not sure we are always good at this.  We are often too distracted by the important theological factoids we feel we should be delivering.

Why does it occasionally feel that an evangelistic encounter is something akin to a visit by a sales rep? A few years ago, I had such a visit to replace a secondary front door in the old bookshop where I live. I showed him what needed to be replaced and anticipated a number of questions about exactly what I required. As I might have expected, I was met with a sales spiel. Ted had clearly memorised a text to be regurgitated in a particular sequence. We got to the point where he asked me what type of letter box and door handle and locking system I wanted. I explained it was a false door so it didn’t need any of those things. He was stunned, bewildered that he hadn’t realised, and walked around the room scratching his head trying to work out what came next. During his ‘pitch’ he had completely missed what I was actually asking for because he was so concerned about delivering to me the ‘important’ information. 

Often, we come to people full of answers to questions they may not be asking. Often our evangelism is essentially monological. I want to suggest a more generous understanding. Good questions can crack open people’s hearts to God’s grace. Perhaps we can learn to be askers of good questions, curious about people, believing that God is already at work in them before we come with all we have to offer? As Martyn Percy says we need to be people, “grounded in listening first and foremost, rather than proclaiming and pontificating.”

Prayer 

Abba Father,
who sees and knows every human heart,
help us to see how your Spirit is at work in the people we encounter.
May we, like Christ Jesus, be good askers of questions. 
May our questions open up those who do not yet know you,
to the beauty of your grace. Amen.

 

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