Growing up in India was a culturally rich experience. One of the stark differences from North America was the pervasiveness of human tragedy. The most pathetic were blind beggars. They sat in the filth of a dirt road, clothed in rags, eyes staring vacantly, hands outstretched for a coin. A couple of bent tin bowls were the sum total of their possessions. They were truly stuck, and knew it. They had no hope. It was heart-wrenching to see them. And I had no clue how to help them beyond tossing a coin.
These vivid pictures are called to mind when I read Mark 10. I know exactly what blind Bartimaeus looked like and how helpless he was. What Jesus did when he met Bartimaeus is intriguing.
When Bartimaeus heard Jesus was passing by, he began to cry out, “Son of David, Jesus! Mercy, have mercy on me!” Many tried to hush him up, but he yelled all the louder, “Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped in his tracks. “Call him over.” Then Jesus asked, “What can I do for you?”
Now that’s quite the question to ask a blind beggar! The answer is obvious, isn’t it? But then, maybe not. Bartimaeus had many needs – a meal, new clothes, a place to live…
By asking the question Jesus discovered what Bartimaeus really wanted: “Rabbi, I want to see.” And Jesus granted him his request.
I’ve noticed Jesus asked this question of several people throughout the Gospels:
- In John 1:37, he asked this of two people following him.
- In John 5:6 Jesus asked a man if he wanted to get better.
What do you want Jesus to do for you?
Okay, you’re not as desperate as a blind beggar, but you can feel stuck at midlife, unable to move forward. You have many needs and challenges. Very real and threatening obstacles are in your way, and you may feel sidelined. When you’re sitting beside life’s road unable to see a way out, you are, in a way, blind – and you know it.
When you call out to Jesus, he might ask you the same question: “What can I do for you? What do you really want?”And that’s a question that requires some thought. At CREST, we help people get clarity at midlife.