Response and Responsibility

“God is just calling you to give it a shot.”

Francis Chan

I teach a great group of high school students every Sunday morning. We do a video based lesson and spend a lot of time in discussion. These past few Sundays we have been studying Francis Chan’s series Finding Truth.

Francis has a lot of good stuff to say about the truth of God’s word and the deceitfulness of the world, but this past lesson he said something I think we all need to hear.

God is just calling you to give it a shot.

Not to have all the answers. Not to do everything right.

When you see a person in need of the grace and mercy of God, someone who needs a friend to extend love, give it a shot.

When the enemy wants to attack the kingdom, to deafen the Gospel, he isn’t very original. When an all-out frontal attack doesn’t do the job, he can easily come from behind with worry and fear. He closes in. Sows seeds of unrest. Whispers But what if it goes wrong?

We don’t want to be rejected. Heck, we avoid feeling awkward if we can help it.

So if that’s you; if you find yourself getting in your own way, your days bruised with missed opportunities, I want to share this story with you. You can find it in the beginning of John 5.

I will give you a quick rundown. There was a pool called Bethesda. It was swarmed with blind, lame and paralyzed people. There was a guy there who had been disabled for 38 years. Jesus saw him and knew he had been there a long time. He approached the man, healed him, and told him to take up his bed and walk. (Actually, their exchange was pretty interesting. I do recommend you read it.)

This was all well and good except that it was the Sabbath and on the Sabbath you aren’t allowed to take up your mat and walk. So “the” Jews confronted him about it. He pushed the blame onto Jesus. The man who healed me told me to do it. He didn’t know who healed him, so he couldn’t exactly point the finger, but let’s be clear- it wasn’t his fault.

After that, Jesus found the guy and said, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” This got the guy all in a tizzy. He ran to the Jews, pointed the finger at Jesus, and turned up the heat under the persecution that had already started against Jesus.

So what does this story have to do with taking a shot? A few things:

  1. Jesus knows everything already. Jesus knew what that guy had been through and for how long. He knows what is going on with you and with your neighbor too. You don’t have to figure everything out. He already knows. It’s just good to remember that sometimes.
  2. Following Jesus means extending mercy regardless of whether we think someone is “worthy” of it. Jesus also knew the condition of the man’s heart, but that didn’t stop Him from extending healing. He knew the man had a problem taking responsibility- no one will put me in the pool, the guy who healed me told me to do it– but He showed His mercy before the heart transformation could take place (if it ever did).
  3. Their response is not your responsibility. Things might be awkward. Maybe they will reject the Holy Spirit and it will look a whole lot like they are rejecting you. The man at Bethesda was face-to-face with Jesus. He experienced the healing of Jesus- healing of a 38 year-old debilitating affliction- and he still rejected Jesus at the end of the story because Jesus made him uncomfortable.

And perhaps the best thing to remember is that someone took a shot with you. Maybe it was your parents, grandparents, friend, family, stranger. Maybe it happened when you were a kid, maybe as an adult. The point is, someone took the shot because God put it on their heart to do so.

I have experienced the awkward. I’ve even experienced the rejection. I’ve learned from them, thank God, and I have a lot more to learn. But I’m constantly pointed back to this fact: I was an object of wrath, we all were, and it was precisely in that state of being that the Father gave His Son for us.

We don’t have to worry about doing it perfectly because He already did. We are forgiven and free to love.

Who will you take a chance on today?


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Photo credit: Matthew Henry

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