They came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus stood still and said, "Call him here." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; get up, he is calling you." So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man said to him, "My teacher, let me see again." Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way. Mark 10:46-52
We are awaiting another snow storm and wondering where the snow will go. We have huge snow piles by the side of the road, so that people frequently disappear by the roadside as they walk along the sidewalks. There is no visibility at intersections often, so one has to be extra careful when entering the roadways around here. Pedestrians are unseen until they are walking out in the road. It makes for a hazardous walk, a hazardous drive, a crazy day for everyone. It is easy to overlook the needs of others, as we struggle to get to the grocery store with everyone else in a panic.
Jesus was walking with his disciples on a journey. They were focused making progress along the way. When a blind man interrupted them, they first wanted to ignore him as a nuisance. But Jesus stopped and took time with the man who was willing to risk life, limb and embarrassment to be touched by Jesus. The roadside encounter changed the man's life forever - he could see. It changed the people around him too, for the messiah told him that his faith had made him well, and they too wanted health and wholeness. And it changed everything because again we see that casual roadside encounters can change the world.
Today I ask God to give me the patience to have the small, casual encounters. May our journeys never be too important to overlook the needs of others. May we take the time to offer a touch, a hand, a word of encouragement for those we encounter today.