"He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32) Having gone to such lengths already, what would God NOT do to win your heart? 

How Far Would You Go to Help a Friend?

I’m convinced that the mothers of boys view the world and read the Bible through a unique lens. For example, boy-mums recognize that two miracles took place on the grassy hillside where Jesus fed the five thousand. Of course, everyone is aware of the transformation of five loaves and two fish from Not-Enough to a Super Abundance, but it takes a trained eye to spot the secondary miracle of a hungry boy handing over his lunch in the first place.

That’s why I’m grateful for next week’s backyard opportunity to be teaching a group of kids the Luke 5 story of Jesus healing a paralyzed man. Without a single thing in the text to support my theory, I stubbornly cling to the idea that it was four brothers on the business ends of that stretcher, carrying a family friend who had been tragically paralyzed.

Jesus was inside the house, surrounded by so many listeners and critics that every door and every window was blocked. When “excuse me” and “pardon me” failed to clear the way to Jesus, things looked pretty hopeless. They were stuck outside, completely blocked off from healing and hope for their paralyzed friend, and if it were not for some creative problem solving, that would have been the end of a sad story, lost to history and never recovered.

To what lengths does a friend go to help a friend?

When horizontal measures were just not doing the job, this foursome thought vertically. Palestinian households utilized their rooftops as an extra room, so an external stairway and some teamwork facilitated the hoisting of their stretcher-bound friend to the tiled roof. Then, without so much as a conference or a committee meeting, the digging and dismantling began.

Tile fragments and falling dust would have alerted the non-omniscient occupants of the packed house that something strange was going on over their heads, but no one was prepared for the response of the only omniscient  fellow in the room. As the four warriors lowered their friend’s bed into the room, Jesus said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”

Did the four stretcher bearers roll their eyes?
Did the most outspoken open his mouth to clarify the “real need” as he saw it?
“Um, Jesus… Well, we sort of had something else in mind.”

Scripture tells us Jesus’s words gave the Pharisees what they came for that day:  evidence to initiate a blasphemy charge. For those who came with open hearts, however, it profoundly established Jesus’s identity as God the Son. And since restoring life to paralyzed limbs is a mere carnival stunt compared to forgiving sin, Jesus went on to heal the man, lifting in a flash his burden of helplessness and hopelessness.

High fives all around, and I’m sure the crowd parted for the guys this time as the newly-healed man obediently picked up his bed and went home, followed by his four satisfied advocates.

How far would you go to help a friend?

How much would you risk to bring a friend to Jesus?
Are you willing to make a scene?
Break social norms?
Break a sweat?

When God witnessed the helpless condition of humanity, he put a plan in place that cost him everything. There was no horizontal way out of our fallenness, so he thought vertically. Down he came, wearing a body that could bleed and die, because that was the only way to make things right again.

God’s great rescue plan set the stage for Paul, chief of the apostles and “chief of sinners,” to observe that “he who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) Having gone to such lengths already, what would God NOT do to win your heart?

Therefore, may I ask gently, having sat on the receiving end of such grace, having taken the “all things” of rescue and salvation from the God of the universe, how could we not also freely give?

Grateful for God’s great rescue plan,

Michele (1)

Just a Note…

My ministry focus next week will be right here in Mid-Coast Maine, so things will be quiet at Living Our Days. I’ll be working with the teens from my church who attended Christian Youth in Action, the training event I assisted with back in June. Together, we will be putting their experience to work in a welcoming backyard in Rockland, Maine. I’m looking forward to a front row seat to witness God at work in their lives as they teach and in the hearts of the children who will be attending. Lord willing, I’ll be posting updates to the Living Our Days Facebook page, so hope to see you there!

Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash

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75 thoughts on “How Far Would You Go to Help a Friend?”

  1. Michele, praying for your divine appointments with the kids in your backyard opportunity.,.this quote grabbed my heart: “When God witnessed the helpless condition of humanity, he put a plan in place that cost him everything. There was no horizontal way out of our fallenness, so he thought vertically. Down he came, wearing a body that could bleed and die, because that was the only way to make things right again.”
    Many blessings to you, friend ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “Um, Jesus… Well, we sort of had something else in mind.” How many times does that happen in our lives, right? Haha! I loved your observation that a second miracle happened when a boy turned over his lunch to the hungry multitude. Guess what we read and discussed last night at my Bible study group? The account of the miracle of 5 loaves and 2 fishes from the gospel of John. I could have added another layer of wonder to that story if I’d read your finely tuned interpretation of this yesterday. Have a glorious time with those teens. They’ll have a hard time to get ahead of you, Michele!


  3. I have always loved that story in the bible – the example of not giving up to get your friend the help they need. The team work it took to get him there. The glory of seeing their friend healed!


    1. Can you imagine the celebration there in that dusty, littered little house? I’m sure their lives were changed forever from what they witnessed and experienced together.


  4. Love it!! 🙌🙌
    Makin it work together!! Our boys always did that as a group!! W friends. Good word!!


    1. I love the determination of those men to get their friend to Jesus and their willingness to do whatever it took.
      Hope everything goes well this week. Look forward to hearing how it goes!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, what a good challenge to my heart!

    I love their boldness, but I also love that these friends didn’t try to “fix” their friend on their own. They brought Him to Jesus.

    How am I bringing my people boldly to Jesus?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great point! That’s also true of the dad in Mark 9. Wow, we really need to follow that example, because as parents and as friends, we sometimes look everywhere else first.


  6. So glad I got to read this post, Michele. I must have missed it before your ministry with the teens. We can never hope to match God’s example of generosity, but He does inspire us to keep trying! And as the mother of 3 boys, I agree – getting a hungry boy to share food is nothing short of a miracle! 🙂


  7. I agree as another boy mom. The boy handing over his lunch was the first miracle. The way to my son’s heart is really through his stomach. Even as a little boy, he would wake up and run into my bedroom and jump on my bed and ask what I was making for dinner. He wanted to have some good food to look forward to. This afternoon I am making spaghetti, something he really enjoys. My dad told me that food was important to boys and that he could still recall some of his favorite foods his mom made and the good memories linked with them.

    Enjoy you week with the youth.


  8. Excellent question, Michele. And I had to laugh at you noting there were two miracles that day with the boy. 🙂 Praying that you see wondrous things next week in your time with the youth!


  9. “How much would you risk to bring a friend to Jesus?
    Are you willing to make a scene?
    Break social norms?
    Break a sweat?”

    Would you believe I have never heard this application from this passage? At least not that I remember. Yet it seems so obvious now that I read it.

    Having three boys, I can identify with the first miracle as well. 🙂


  10. This backyard opportunity sounds great. Praying for those front-row-seats to God’s presence and glory. By the way, I teach the preschool class at church once a month. We are going through stories of Jesus’ ministry. I had fun with this younger age group, all boys with one lone girl, coming up with activities and games to illustrate feeding the 5,000 with the boy’s lunch and about friends helping the man get to Jesus. We pretended to pass out food and pick up the leftovers and pulled our friends around the floor on mats. 🙂


  11. Oh I just bet those teens are going to have such fun with you and you are all going to have such wonderful discussions. What a wonderful “boy-mom” take on these bible stories. Thanks for sharing with us at Encouraging Hearts and Home. Pinned.


  12. Can’t wait to hear of God’s miracles through the boys you’ve trained to share Jesus these next weeks. You are a great writer and I love this story of guys being guys. Reminds me of my husband: a doer not a committeeman. Which can get him into trouble but I love watching God in him and I’m grateful. PS a friend and I taught a SS class on this story and came up with “50 Characteristics of a Stretcher-Bearer Friend” – often the challenge more can be: Am I willing to get on the stretcher?? xoxo


  13. I always love the way you assemble a sentence, Michele. But more importantly, I love how you bring out such rich Bible truths. Blessings to you. Thanks for making us think deeply about all He did for us and why we should also freely give.


  14. So interesting, He feeds one group from a lunch and another time He feeds a crowd with seven loaves and few fish, the friends carry another to be healed and the man at the pool has no one, but there is Jesus. He is never at a loss even if we are.


  15. A beautiful telling of one of my favorite Jesus stories. I’ve seen my husband be the hands and feet {literally} for others that couldn’t do for themselves. It’s an awesome role to be a servant … and not for the faint of heart.

    May God prosper your ministry next week. What a fabulous opportunity on many levels.

    Bless you, friend …


  16. Michelle, this post touched me so much. We are called to be friends. Thank you for this reminder. The Holy Spirit moves through your writings to minister and I am grateful for this one! Perfect timing. I would love for you to link up to my new GATHERING OF FRIENDS LINK PART 2 over on my blog at Graceforagypsy.com


  17. I’ve mentioned before, I think, that Mama was born on PEI but grew up in Bath, Maine. We are heading to Maine the first week of October to vacation, see some of my cousins, sightsee and enjoy the autumn colors. Maine is my happy place!


  18. Focus has always been on the loaves and fish, and well Jesus too. Also, on the paralyzed man. Through your post, I now see the two in different lights. Thanks. Have great time with your teen ministry. I loved when my children reached the teen years.


  19. Congratulations! Your post was my feature pick at #ThursdayFavoriteThings this week. Visit me at https://www.marilynstreats.com on thursday morning to see your feature! All hosts choose their own features from the comments left on their blog so be sure to return to my blog to see your feature. I invite you to leave more links to be shared and commented upon. Please don’t forget to add your link numbers or post title so we can be sure to visit!


  20. Wonderful and thought-provoking post! The questions at the end stirred my heart this morning. Praying I would always be willing to be a friend who will go to great lengths.


  21. Ahhh, Michele. Yes, we boy moms learn to see life and God’s word through a different lens. 🙂 I love your thoughts here. Our thoughts about how far we’ll go to bring a friend to Jesus, and about the ultimate vertical sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf because He loves us. You challenged me to evaluate what kind of friend I am to those around me. Thank you for making me consider this topic through this perspective!


  22. Michele, I hope you have a great week working with the teens! I just love teens. They are a special breed of people! Thanks for this post. You got me thinking—how far would I go? Hopefully as far as they needed me to go, and farther. 🙂

    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!


    1. We are having a great week, and the kids are learning to teach and lead in the face of weather challenges and all the rest!
      Glad we can think about this topic together!


  23. How far would I go to help a friend? Such a good question! I’ve been reading about the goodness of God and am reminded that God gives us His spirit to receive His glory and it is from this glory that we see the goodness of God. God gives abundantly hoping we will then share the overflow with others. I pray that I continue to receive and give away more in the process.

    I’m a little late to respond here but I’ve been praying for your work with Christian Youth in Action.


    1. Mary, that means so much. Thank you for your ongoing prayers, and this week ends the process as the teens from our church who attended CYIA put their training to the test in actual children’s ministry.
      It’s been satisfying to see them in action.


  24. I loved this post, Michele! Praying for every kid who sat in that backyard this week! Thanks for pouring into the next generation!


  25. How far would I go for a friend? I think it depends on what the friend expected and what kind of friends we were. I have lots of casual friends, we know each other on the surface but not deeply. I have friends who get on my nerves and I probably get on theirs but we are friends. I have friends who I have shared deep things of life with and I love hosting them. But one has to start somewhere so you opening your home to those who you do not know well is an act of courage. To be link together with like minded women is the biggest blessing of my life, and there is always room for more I think. We have lived in several states in the US, two third world countries, work with people from so many countries in our ministry so I have friends that go deep right away when we see each other, and some who stay surface as far as their life goes. But when we both touch the cross, all other things pass away, country, age, ministries, culture, etc. I have felt heart fellowship with a tribal women sitting around an outside fire with nothing common between us but Him in us. I only wish I could have attended your conference. Blessings. And one more thing, I love working with teens. My husband loves the middle school but I love teens. Another blessing to you.


  26. Michele, I hope the week was joyfully fruitful! This is one of my favorite posts you’ve written. I had not seen the Bible story quite this way and the question you ask will stick with me: how far will you go to help a friend?” Helping him to Jesus? I hope there is no limit!


  27. I love this post so much! Stopping by again to thank you for linking up with us at the #WednesdayAIMLinkParty 41


  28. You made me giggle with the idea of the second miracle being the boy handing over his lunch… My boys do hate to share food lol!
    By the way if you tried to comment on my host post this week there was an issue with the privacy policy, but it is back up and running now. If you had time to pop back I would appreciate it. Thanks for being with us on the #DreamTeam


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