February 11, 2019
Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. …. Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand” …. and his hand was completely restored.
(Mark 3:1-2,4-5 NIV)
Shriveled Hands – Shriveled Hearts
In cold weather my hands shrivel. My body sends a false signal to send my blood to protect my central organs and my hands look like a cadaver’s. The medical remedies have side effects that are so brutal that the problem is better than the solution. But my inner challenges are more serious.
Do you ever find yourself looking for a reason to be critical of another? Does our view of the world become so shriveled that we can’t see good when it is being done right in front of us? I’m too often guilty of that sort of narrow-mindedness.
The religious constructs of those observing Jesus predisposed them to finding fault rather than finding good. The easiest thing for Jesus was healing a man’s physical affliction but a shriveled mind and heart are a completely different thing.
A good barometer of our spiritual life is our predisposition to either criticism or affirmation. We are invited to accept something that is good even when it invades our space or challenges our comfort zone.
A Prayer for Today
Loving God renew my inner spirit with your vision of the world. Let us see what you call “good” and affirm, accept and encourage its growth. Your Son watched his critics as keenly as they watched him. Let me have his eyes for doing the right thing even in challenging circumstances …. For Jesus’ sake.