Willing and Able–Mark 1:40

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

In recent months, I’ve experienced some particular frustration with a certain gigantic banking company, which will remain nameless. Let’s just call it GMAC. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that this interchange involved me filling out a ream of forms and then awaiting the folks at GMAC to render a decision. After months–literally, months–of waiting on them to get moving on my request, the brain trust at this paragon of financial probity declined my request.

But wait, there’s more! After receiving their explanation, I immediately called the handy toll-free number to discuss the matter, because, according to their own documents, the GMAC gang had failed to perform simple arithmetic accurately, a failing that led to their decision. The kind bank representative explained that since they had made the mistake they could restart the process after I refilled all of the documents again.

“There’s no way to simply use the documents I completed before?” I asked.

“No sir,” the GMAC drone answered.

Of course it could have happened. It would have been easy. The problem was that somebody, either this fellow on the phone or his higher-ups, simply weren’t willing.

Think about it. Many times we can do something, but we aren’t willing. I’m not talking about things that I simply can’t do. I might like to slam-dunk a basketball, but it isn’t going to happen. On the other hand, when I head to QuikTrip later to fill up my gas tank, I could pay for the other people’s gas as well. I could, but I’m not willing to do that. I could grade papers for my office mate, but I’m not going to do it. I’m just not willing.

In this brief story, the leper recognizes that Jesus is able to heal him. The question in this man’s mind rests in the Lord’s willingness to do this healing. Now let’s be clear. The ability to heal leprosy is no mean feat, and the leper’s recognition of Jesus’ ability showed his level of awareness.

Sometimes I wonder how much we really believe Jesus to be capable of doing. Do we trust him to provide our food and protect our health, to control this insane world and to control my out-of-control life? Sure, we say that we possess that sort of trust, but often our actions say that we don’t believe him capable of doing the deed.

Rather than depending on the good grace of GMAC with my financial future, I’ve determined not to worry about what they’re willing or able to do. Instead, I’m going to trust in the one is definitely willing and able. At least that’s the plan. I’m willing. Lord, make me able.

A Solid Footstool (Hebrews 1:13-14)

To which of the angels did God ever say,
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet”?
Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:13-14)

Last night, Irene the turkey met her end. Having lost her mate, Earl, to our dinner table last fall, Irene had fallen in among the chickens and seemed happy to lead a chicken-esque life. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I realized she begun laying eggs again. In the past day or two, it seems, she had completed her clutch and began to sit on them. With Earl out of the picture, I seriously doubt those eggs would ever have hatched unless an adventurous wild turkey had made his way into the chicken yard. The question is moot now.

Cassie, our Great Pyrenees, apparently intervened in the attack but could not stop Irene from being hauled off into the night by, presumably, coyotes. We were left with a flurry of brown feathers and some 10 eggs. We assume it was Cassie who brought the eggs down to the house. I don’t imagine the coyotes were quite that responsible.

Cassie is wonderful as a guard dog. She largely hears and warns off all of the enemies to our livestock. Last night, however, proved that she cannot stop all of the enemies.

Modern life involves attempting to insulate ourselves from as many of our enemies as possible. To this end, we lock doors, pay for insurance policies, eat properly, and fasten seatbelts, yet day after day demonstrates that not all enemies can be stopped. The final enemy, death, can be delayed but has not been beaten by human means.

But through Christ, all of Christ’s enemies, who are also the enemies of man, have been or will be vanquished. Hunger, illness, war, and death will provide the legs for that footstool of enemies. Jesus will put his feet up and invite us to join in the restful comfort. As much as I appreciate Cassie the guard dog, I’ll opt for God’s enemy plan instead.