There is no doubt that this is a story of great faith and great friendship. These four men certainly loved their paralyzed friend and were willing to do anything to get him to Jesus. As I look back over this story I can see several things that could have prevented these four men. May I suggest that we need to be wary of the same possible faith stoppers because it’s not just our lives or faith at stake!
Faith Stopper #1 Convenience. Sometimes we fail to act in faith because we are waiting for the “best” time. We are waiting for God to “move” us instead of seeing that God is moving…that He is near! Serving and ministering to other people is seldom going to be at our “convenience”. In fact, God may often interrupt your day; and what seems like a series of mishaps and unplanned conversations can actually be the very hand of God! These men would have to adapt their life around their friend in order to get him to Jesus. This required time from work, family and personal time. Real ministry is found when we are willing to be inconvenienced for others.
Faith Stopper #2 Crowds. It can be one or thousands but other people can often crowd out what God is trying to do. It is so important to be aware that what others think, feel or are doing is of little consequence to what we are supposed to do. If i am to help someone it really doesn’t matter if someone else believes me or not. I have to move on what God has called me to do. One of the sad things to note here is that there were many “religious” people who were in the way and preventing these four men from getting their friend to Jesus. We need to make sure that we are not preventing or inhibiting others from getting to Christ ourselves! Don’t be part of the crowd, no matter how religious! Be part of carrying people to Jesus at all costs!
Faith Stopper #3 Construction. Stick with me here. So often it is easy for me to fall into the trap that there is only one way to Jesus. But that’s not true. There is only one way to Heaven and that is through Jesus! But there are many ways TO Jesus! These men had a plan, had the faith, had the momentum and then had a problem. It is so important to realize that what we thought would work at one time may not work now. What seems good in our heads is not always gonna play out in real life. But that doesn’t mean we stop! It means we create once again! These men realized that they may not be able to move crowds but they could move their constructions.
A construct is something upon which we build and these guys had to rebuild their approach to Jesus. Their destination was still Jesus however! They still wanted to see their friend get to Jesus no matter what it took! We must have the same outlook. There are some forms of ministry that may not be my cup of tea, yet the goal is still getting people to Jesus. Perhaps we need to remember these guys more often in realizing that the best way to get people to Jesus is through deconstructing some of our old ways of thinking and allow God to do a new thing, even if it means raising the roof to lower a friend!