Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Be Present At Our Table Lord"1 (Lyrics)
In the Peanuts comic strip, Linus has his security blanket. Over a 35-year period, he experienced a love/hate relationship with this well-worn blanket. After all, it had been a part of his life from the very beginning. The blanket gave Linus comfort and support, but it also held him back when he really wanted to move forward with his life. In an odd way, I am reminded of this by the Bible story of blind Bartimaeus:
Mark 10:46-52 – They 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. (NRSV)
Scripture has a way of opening our eyes to things that have gone unseen, like the little phrase, "throwing off his cloak", in this story. The character Bartimaeus had little in the way of possessions. Just maybe, that cloak constituted most of what he had — a garment for warmth at night, an article to catch a few coins from passersby, a bit of shade from the burning sun. It was the only security that he had in the dark and dangerous world of blindness and begging. How quickly he cast it off at the invitation of Jesus to come to Him!
It is hard to give up the security that we have for the hope of something better. Bartimaeus never hesitated for a moment — "he sprang up and came to Jesus" — and his life was never the same again. Not only was the cloak part of his past, but so too was his blindness, his begging, his brokenness. A new life awaited him as he "followed [Jesus] on the way".
Many things present themselves as security in this life, and many of them hinder us from stepping out in faith, like the rich young man who walked sadly away from Jesus because he could not leave the security of his riches behind him (Matthew 19:16-22).
What is your security blanket? Do you find it in possessions or prestige or power or wealth or …? The one security that we are promised that will never fail us is the love and presence of God in our lives.
Prayer: God of new life, we yearn for Your presence and the renewing power that it holds. Your grace is our security. Your strength is our courage. Your love is our saving power. Amen.