Choices - Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Luke 5:17–26 (NIV84)

17 One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. 18 Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

While living overseas, it was interesting to see how other people viewed Americans. The regular stories of Americans’ lives were quite amusing to others. When the story broke about the airlines not allowing a pet ostrich onto a flight as an emotional support animal, many could not believe this was even an issue. A common tag line developed to describe such stories: “That sounds like a first world problem.”

There is no shame living where we do and enjoying the blessings God has given. But it doesn’t take long for shame or worry or regret to show up wherever you live. For Americans, this can happen with the many decisions we face.

We face decisions about careers, houses, spouse, cars, and so much more. The many choices can quickly give way to doubt. “Did I make the right decision?” In fact, decision-making can become so crippling, there’s even have a term for it - decidophobia.

It’s comforting to know that wherever we live, we have a God who deals with our worst problem and lovingly concerns himself with all of our problems.

A group of good friends brought their paralyzed friend to the place where Jesus was teaching. They had hoped he would heal their hurting friend. But Jesus started with the real problem and the bigger issue. He was not addressing first world problems or third world problems. He was tackling that man’s and all humanity’s problem. The first thing he said was, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

This enraged those who were there. Jesus knew it and called them on it. “I just fixed the biggest problem this man had. But so, there would no doubt, I am going to fix his physical, earthly problem too. Get up and walk.”

Doubts and regrets are crippling. Looking back, who knows if we made the right career choices, the right car choices, the right whatever it happens to be choices. What we do know is that the Lord has taken care of humanity’s problem. He has taken care of your problem. He will work all things out for your good, both here and for eternity. Enjoy the physical, earthly blessings God provides. But keep your eye on the big picture which lies ahead. Live at peace, for you are forgiven.

PRAYER:  Dear Lord, I strive to do all things to your glory. When a choice is given, let me consider how this will give you glory and show love to my fellow man. And in the end, when doubt comes, remind me that I am forgiven in your sight. The greatest problem that I face you have already taken care of through your death and resurrection. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.