Jump Start # 2611
John 9:1 “And as He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.”
Why is it that some are blessed in one way and others are not? Some things fall within our hands and it’s a matter of the choices that we make and the use of opportunities before us. But others are a matter of the Lord. That thought took me to this verse today. And here, in this passage Jesus and His twelve apostles come upon a blind man. He has been blind from birth. Think for a moment of all the things he missed seeing. He never saw the face of his mother. He never saw what a dog looked like. He never saw rain, sunshine or rainbows. He would hear sounds, but he wouldn’t know what those sounds came from. He didn’t know the different colors of flowers. He didn’t know the different kinds of birds. When he ate, he didn’t know what his food looked like. When he dressed, he didn’t know what his clothes looked like, or if they even matched. He could feel the heat from a fire, but he didn’t know what fire looked like.
I thought about that man as I looked around my office this morning. I am surrounded by thousands of books. This man couldn’t read one of them. I have dozens and dozens of pictures of family and friends. He could not have seen anything like that. I type on a keyboard. This man wouldn’t know how to make letters. How hard, lonely his life would have been. What a struggle, particularly in that generation to be handicapped. There were no seeing eye dogs. There were not handicap ramps. There were no doors that opened automatically. There was no braille alphabet. Back then, the life of a blind person was regulated to begging. Everyday, begging. A few coins would drop in a cup now and then, but in those small villages, people would quickly tire of putting money into his cup every day. His life seemed ruined even before it got started.
Why was he blind? The disciples wondered that. They felt that his blindness was punishment for sin. Who sinned, they asked, his parents or him? They felt that there was a reason he was blind. That reason had to be connected to sin and punishment. Jesus quickly took care of that discussion by saying his blindness was not connected to anyone’s sin. God was going to use this man to demonstrate the works of Jesus.
But the disciples question bothers us. We wonder. Why are some handicapped and others not? Why are some blessed and others do not seem to be as blessed? Why do some struggle through life and others seem to have an easy way of things? Why do some have good parents and others not so good? Why can some look at a blank piece of paper and put words on it that becomes a great song or a great story? Others can’t do that. Why can some take a paint brush and paint an amazing picture and the rest of us have trouble coloring within the lines?
Stretching this to our current situation. Why are some born black and some white? Why are some female and others male? Why are some tall and others short? Why do some have such a beautiful voice and others can’t find pitch if they had all day?
I wonder if any of the apostles, as they saw that blind man, wondered why it wasn’t one of them that was blind? Why him? Why not them? How different your life would be if you were born in a third world country where just finding clean water was a daily struggle. How different your world would be if you lived in a country or a time when you could not have access to God’s word. How different your world would be if you lived in a small village back in the 12th century and a plague would take the life of someone in every home. How different your life would have been if you were an orphan and had to be sent to dirty work houses as a child. How different our world would be had we been born blind.
Some thoughts for us:
First, all of us have been blessed, especially in these times. When one studies history and we look at how hard it was in past generations to survive and how difficult it was to find God’s word, these are indeed good days. It’s as if God has turned the bucket of blessings upside down and just poured them on us. Sure we have had a pandemic, but our times has allowed preachers to put out more lessons and give us more encouragement than ever before. If we suffered, it was by our own doing. Knowledge of God’s word is so easy today.
Second, we have much to be thankful for. It’s easy for the spoiled and the proud to want more and more, but those who count their blessings realize God has been good to us. These are good days. Is everything perfect? No. Do we need to right some wrongs in this country? Yes. But, still, there is much to be thankful for.
Third, with these great blessings come great responsibilities. God doesn’t expect us to horde these blessings but rather use them to help others. Help others who are not as blessed. Help others to know and see the Lord. The parable of the talents reminds us that into our hands great opportunities have been given. God expects us to be fruitful. God intends for us to not use these blessings to make us more selfish and isolate, but to be generous as He is generous.
Have we been blessed? Certainly. Now, the question remains, what do we do with these things? Do we use them to make us think we are better than others? That leads to prejudice and indifference. Or, do we allow these blessings to touch our hearts and spread sunshine to others?
They saw a blind man. It could have been one of them. It could have been one of us. It is one of us, when we fail to see what God has done for us.