Blessed… Lord If You Want…

Now when Jesus had come down from the mountain, large crowds followed him. A man with a skin disease came, knelled before him, and said, “Lord, if you want, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched him, saying, “I do want to. Become clean.” Instantly his skin disease was cleansed. Jesus said to him, “Don’t say anything to anyone. Instead, go and show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded. This will be a testimony to them” (Matthew 8:1-4, Common English Bible).

“Lord if you want…” In other translations it might say, “Lord if you want…” or “Lord, if you will…” or “Lord, if you are willing…” It seems like a strange way to begin a conversation.

Yes, it seems a bit strange. It isn’t at all the way many of us tend to ask God to do something for us. “Lord, please cure my cancer.” A different prayer might go, “Lord I really want this job, help me get it.” Can you see the difference?

In today’s reading the man with the serious (some translations leave out the word serious) skin disease, a man with leprosy, according to some translations (in the Biblical era they often didn’t know the differences in skin diseases and gave them all the name leprosy), wants Jesus to heal him. The interesting thing to me is not that he asks Jesus to heal him, it is the way he asks. “Lord if it be your will…” There is no demand here. The man knows Jesus can do whatever he wants. He knows Jesus has the power. Yet the man also knows that it is completely up to Jesus as to how the power will be used.

On a side note, we really aren’t sure how the man knows Jesus has this power, this ability. This is the first time in Matthew’s gospel that he exercises his power to heal. Perhaps there were other occasions where he used the power and Matthew, for whatever the reason chose not to record them, but the man did know.

So much of the time we forget that God sees the whole picture in ways we do not. We want things by what we see, the way we think our interests are best served and not by the way God wants. That job we want so bad, perhaps God, who knows us better than we know ourselves can see down the road further than we and knows we would be miserable in that position. Or perhaps God didn’t give us that position because there is something better coming. It might also be, that because God gives us all of us free will, the person who is making the decision on that job decided to hire his less qualified brother-in-law instead of following the will of God. We may not always know the reasons, but sometimes the answer is “no.”

Perhaps it would serve each of us well to begin our petitions to God by following the example of the man with the serious skin disease, “Lord, if it be your will…”

What are you asking God to do for you that should begin with, “Lord, if it be your will…”

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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