Jesus and his disciples came to Jericho. As he 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
I have just returned home after being with the Montana Association of Christians who were working together to find ways to serve the people. We talked a good about listening, keeping our hands in our pockets, and not imposing our needs or ideas on the people we serve. Those of us who are helpers, those of us called to mission, are too often given to solving other peoples' problems and not listening. Not listening to them or to our own hearts and our own problems. And we often fail to listen to the heart of God.
Jesus stopped to listen to the blind beggar. He asked Bartimaeus what he wanted. He listened first, not imposing his own ideas on the man. The disciples tried to quiet the man and protect Jesus, but the Teacher wanted to listen to the man who needed healing. It was probably completely evident what Bartimaeus needed. And yet he invited him to name his need. In the story, Bartimaeus not only receives healing, but he follows Jesus. He became part of the community and in so doing, changed them. We remember his name because of his willingness to be transformed and to ask for what he needed. He turned his loss into service.
Today I ask God to help me seek healing for all the dark and blind places in my life. May we all take time to listen, and in so doing, honor the people we serve. May we listen with the heart of God.