We don’t know a whole about the four friends in this story…well nothing specifically about their personal lives. However, there’s a lot we know about the kind of people they were as individuals. We can clearly see what values were important to them by how they treated this paralyzed man. We can see their work ethic. We can see their ability to work as a team.
What does it take to make a good team, even if it is a rag, tag team?
Role Play. One of the first things I notice from the story is that each one had a role to play. Each one had to get a corner. There were four of them, a place for each one. And that’s the way we need to operate within the body of Christ. Isn’t there room enough for all of us? Don’t we all have a corner of the world we can reach? What happens though is that some get caught up in trying to cover two or three corners. Some get jealous of other corner-carriers and feel like they should walk this or that way, or carry the mat with this or that hand. Yes, there is a way to work together…but we have to work at it! Our attitude toward our teammates affects the ministry of the team! We mustn’t forget that the goal is to get our “paralyzed friends” to Jesus. Bickering and fighting over techniques, proper ways to do it etc. do nothing more than extend the period of time that souls continue in anguish.
What to do? Find your role and play it well. Focus on doing you’re very best for God and God alone. Don’t get caught up with anything other than working together with those around you to get as many people to Jesus, as soon as possible! A good rag-tag team uses each person on their team to their fullest possible potential to reach others for Christ.
Carry Your Weight. Secondly, I see that each person had to carry their end well. We cannot bail or blame others for our weaknesses. We must be strong and step up and carry the burdens of others. We have to lift up our friends and quit dropping them! It’s one thing to be paralyzed but these four men were able to walk! How can those of us who have good healthy limbs and lives not contribute to ensuring others get to Jesus? How can we shift the weight of burden to someone else? We simply can’t!
What to do? Pick up your end of the mat! God has placed you strategically in people’s lives who need to be lifted up. There are people around you that you can partner with to get others to Christ. Quit waiting for someone else to do what God has called you to do! In a good rag-tag team, each person focuses on what God has called them to do as individuals and brings their best to the mat each time.
Care more about your friend. Thirdly I see that these men cared more about their friend than they card about anything else. Sometimes we can enter into a project trying to simply feel good about ourselves or make a splash. It’s easy to simply want to see people get “saved” so that we feel good about what we are doing and have a sense that God is “using” us. What is so cool about this story is that no names are listed here. These four men didn’t have a “savior” mentality. They didn’t see themselves as the ones who were doing the great work…they were simply the ones who helped get the man to the one who could! We have to remember that when God uses us it’s not because we are so “special” but because he is so good!
What to do? Serve God humbly. Don’t make a name for yourself. Give all praise to God. In this story, the men were praised for their faith…but not by men. The words of praise came from Jesus and really He is the only one whose praise matters. A good rag-tag team is not competitive or focused on success but on care and compassion and making a difference in other’s lives.
Believe in the work. Lastly, the team has to unified in belief and faith. Each man carrying the mat really believed that Jesus could do. They were willing to move the man, the mat, and the roof. Doing each of those things only validated their full faith in Jesus’ ability and willingness to heal. How much do we really believe in Jesus? How much do we really believe in our mission? Are we really willing to lay aside petty issues and take up our side of the mat and carry our friends? Are we willing to bend over backwards together to see people come to Christ? When we do the results are phenomenal! There is much to be said by a team who works together and really believes that more can be accomplished together than apart! There is no way one man would have been able to get this paralyzed man to Jesus. And certainly not from the roof! It would take all four. It’s gonna take all of us, folks! We have to believe in Jesus. We have to believe in each other. We have to believe in the mission!
What to do? Start looking for ways Jesus wants to stretch your faith. These men were faced with a stretcher first: the man on the mat. Make friends with people who need Jesus. Reaffirm your faith by taking steps toward Jesus first. Don’t try to carry someone on your own. Build a network of like-minded, faith-followers of Jesus who are willing to believe Jesus for anything and everything! A good rag-tag team believes Jesus wants to heal and can heal if we will simply come and bring as many as we can to him!