Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn't reach Him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. Luke 5:18-19
Actor Will Smith has a well-known quote that says, "The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I'm not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me… But if we get on the treadmill together, there's two things: You're getting off first, or I'm going to die. It's really that simple, right?" Will Smith has perseverance. He does not give up. His grit is something to be admired. What if you and I adopted this same mindset of perseverance when it comes to leading others to Christ?
Luke 5 recounts the story of a group of men who did not give up on bringing their friend to Jesus, even when they faced obstacles. As Jesus was teaching one day, these men came to the house where Jesus was teaching. They brought with them their paralyzed friend, hoping Jesus would heal him so that he could walk. Remember, they did not have wheelchairs, so they were carrying him to Jesus on the mat he slept on. When they arrived at the house Jesus was at, they quickly realized that they would never be able to get their friend to Jesus because of the huge crowd that had come to Him. Despite their obstacles, these men persevered. They did not give up. They carried their friend up a ladder on the outside of the house to the top of the roof. Next, they removed some of the roof tiles and lowered their friend down to Jesus. When Jesus saw this man, He healed him, telling him to get up from his mat and walk home. Because of their persistence, these men brought their friend to Jesus, and he was healed. They could have been discouraged and gone home when they saw the crowd. They could have simply waited outside the house in hopes that they would eventually get to bring their friend to Jesus. Instead, they persevered, and their friend was healed.
When you think about your list of people who are far from God, are you discouraged, wanting to give up? Let me encourage you to channel the perseverance of Will Smith and these friends in Luke 5. Don't give up, even when it is hard. Continue to reach out to your lost friends, even when it seems like no progress is being made. There is no one so hopeless that God cannot reach. He's working in the lives of others, even when we cannot see.
Is there someone on your list of people in your life who do not know Christ who you want to give up on? Even though you are discouraged, continue persevering. Take time today to pray for that person and reach out to them, letting them know that you care about them and are invested in their life.
Read Luke 5:17-29 (NLT)
One day while Jesus was teaching, some Pharisees and teachers of religious law were sitting nearby. (It seemed that these men showed up from every village in all Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem.) And the Lord’s healing power was strongly with Jesus.
Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”
But the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to themselves, “Who does he think he is? That’s blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”
Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!”
Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.
Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them.