Ansell: Excuses, excuses — When stuff gets in the way of being well and whole
I’m a Red Letter guy. I love the stuff that Jesus said. In John 5, He sees a guy in a crowd who is sitting in one of those scooters from Walmart and He asks him, “Would you like to get well?” This man gave a bunch of excuses on why he could not be healed, but Jesus cut through the bureaucratic red tape and said to him, “Stand up, pick up your mat and walk.”
I hear the Rabbi (Jesus) ask me the same question almost daily: “Do you want to be made well or whole?” Maybe it sounds more like, “Little Kenny Ansell, what is keeping you from being made whole or well?” We have lots of excuses just like the guy in John 5. The blame game is pretty easy to play.
Not too long ago a friend of a friend went on a mission trip to Africa to serve at an orphanage. Sometimes I think about taking the Blonde (aka Jen, my wife of 38 years) to a far away place like that and serving on the mission field. As I was daydreaming about this the other day — about where something like that might fit into our future — I became concerned as I started thinking about my stuff. Do you have stuff? Can you take your stuff to Africa? How much of your stuff can you take? Where does our little tiny house that we love so much fit into this plan, and I’m thinking they probably don’t have any tennis courts at this orphanage in Africa, so would I have to leave behind or sell my red Yonex racquet that is strung with matching red string? Could it be that something as small as a tennis racquet could keep me from being well and whole? How about my green Titleist golf bag and our red Jeep Gladiator or the new treadmill and my jillion dollar Nike running shoes (2 pairs)?
There are some Red Letters that answer the questions about these kinds of challenges that can cause hyperventilation. In Matthew 19, Jesus met a guy who had a lot of stuff, and his stuff was keeping him from wholeness and being used by God. Jesus told this guy to go and sell all of his stuff, give the money to the poor and then come back and join the Jesus crowd. It says this guy went away sad (probably a tennis player with a red Yonex racquet with red strings). See, this guy loved his stuff more than he loved Jesus, therefore he didn’t really want to be well, he just thought he did.
It’s a daily thing. We choose our stuff or we choose to serve Jesus. Excuses or Jesus? What’s holding you back from being full send? He asked me to ask you that.