‘Four men arrived carrying a paralysed man on a mat.’ Mark 2:3 NLT
It took four people to get this man to Jesus, and fortunately they weren’t the kind who gave up easily. They refused to let the crowd stand in their way. They even ‘raised the roof’ to get him to Jesus. So if you want to minister to people: (1) You must be aware of their need. They may look like they’ve ‘got it all together’, yet inwardly be lying on a stretcher. When they’re alone they cry out, ‘God, unless you help me I’m finished.’ They’re hurting, desperate, and powerless, and they know it. (2) You mustn’t let them down. Committing to bring somebody to Jesus means picking them up, refusing to let them down, and carrying them the whole way. It means comforting, encouraging, and holding them securely until He touches them. (3) You must allow Jesus to do it His way. Often hurting people don’t know what they need—but Jesus does. So once you get them there, back off and let Him work. When we’ve been in church a while we tend to look for outward signs of change. But Jesus recognised that this man’s first need was for forgiveness: ‘My child, your sins are forgiven.’ (Mark 2:5 NLT) After that He addressed the man’s second need: ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!’ (Mark 2:11 NLT) Don’t dismiss God’s tendency to work in ways that don’t make sense to you. He knows what He’s doing, and He never does anything by half-measures. Once He starts working on somebody, He’ll continue His ‘good work in you [and] will perfect it’(Philippians 1:6 NAS) so Jesus will be glorified.