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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Today’s Reading | Matthew 20:29–34 

As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. There were two blind men sitting by the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, “Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!” Jesus stood still and called them, saying, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him. (NRSV)

Two things stand out to me in this episode from Matthew’s Gospel. “What do you want me to do for you?” is one. “Moved with compassion” is the other.

The dignity we grant people when we inquire about their needs and desires is powerful indeed. So often I assume I know what people need and what people want, especially when I encounter people who, like the two men in this story, are broadcasting a need for help: the jingling cup, the awkward pause, tears.

But before we swing into action to provide what we think people need, we can follow Jesus’ example and take the small but significant step of asking people what they want. The risk there is that we might not have the means to provide it or we may find a scruple with it. But if we actually ask out of a sincere interest, we’ll start from a much better place than if we act first without asking.

Jesus’ inquiry opens the door for his compassion, which opens the door for his healing action. When we act to help but lack compassion, our help can imprison those we’re trying to help. But if we allow compassion to guide us—and this is vulnerable, painful stuff—then we may find we’re sharing in a mutual gift instead of merely giving away aid.

Lord God, Jesus cares enough to ask. Move us to care with his care, to undergo his compassion, and to touch with his touch, so that healing may abound. Amen.

Written by Rocky Supinger, Associate Pastor for Youth Ministry

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