Guest Post by Chris Sutherland- Member @ Brookstone Church
(Note: A spot is a helping hand in the weight room).
I was 12. My dad had just bought me a bench press. It had a small barbell and weights. As my dad loaded weights on the bar, I looked at it. Then, I looked at my dad and said, “I can’t lift those weights!”
He said, “Relax. You don’t have to lift all of the weight. Lie down on the bench. Get an even grip on the bar. Extend your arms as much as you can. Try to lift the bar and clear the bench rack. I will spot (bear) some of the weight for you.”
Fast-forward 33 years. I have a wife, kids, and a job. And sometimes, I feel like I cannot “lift” the many expectations and responsibilities hanging on the barbell of life. I feel pressure and weight to be a faithful husband, loving dad and reliable employee. I feel weight to help serve in the church. As a man, I’m wired to win and succeed.
But, what do I do when I feel like I can’t lift the weight?
For example, this week, I read a blog post on how to relate better to your kids and wife. So, I made a plan. I went home to execute it. Long story short, it didn’t go well. I felt more weight. So, I told myself, I will work harder. I’ll try again. But, this process ultimately adds more weight. Why? Because trying harder is not the answer. Life requires a spot.
My dad didn’t spot me because I was already strong. He spotted me because he loved me. He desired to protect me. And, he knew I needed help to become strong.
Jesus Christ is like that. Jesus spots us when we are weak. Consider the promise shared by the Apostle Paul in II Corinthians 12:9 (ESV), “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Jesus helps bear our weights when we cannot. But, sometimes, I struggle to embrace this truth.
It is helpful to see Jesus teaching this truth in Matthew 12:9-13 (ESV). In these verses, Jesus heals a man with a withered hand. The context of the passage involves how to act on the Sabbath. Basically, the Pharisees are adding the extra “weight” of rules to the Sabbath Day. Jesus challenged the rules. To paraphrase the truth, Jesus asked His audience (as He asks us), do we choose rest, His strength and love, and His life? Or, do we choose unrest, human strength, human rules, and death?
To demonstrate, Jesus asks a man with a withered hand to stand before the synagogue crowd. The man is probably nervous, anxious, and worried. Living with a disability, maybe he’s weighed down with life. Maybe he’s frustrated that he can’t accomplish with his hands what other men can accomplish. Or, perhaps he’s simply ashamed as he hides his hand in his cloak/robe.
But, whatever the case, Jesus spots him!
In verse 13, Jesus says, “Stretch out your hand.” The man extended his hand, and Jesus restored it. Amazing! His power strengthened the man’s hand. Jesus became His strength. He can become ours.
When this life weakens and weighs us down, will we hide our weak hands in shame? Will we seek to do life by our own rules and strength like the Pharisees? Or, will we obediently extend our hand in faith and receive His spot?
Join us February 6th for our second night, Paralyzed, where we will discuss ways to overcome fear and anxiety and stress. More info and register here: http://www.brookstonechurch.org/paralyzed