“What do you want me to do for you?” This was the question that Jesus asked the two blind beggars by the road near Jericho. They had already been crying out for mercy, so why would Jesus ask them this question? Jesus looked beyond their need for money, and instead, saw their deeper desire. If I were a blind person begging on the streets and a true healer passed me by and asked me what I wanted, my answer would most obviously be that I might be given sight. So Jesus goes directly to the heart of the matter. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asks. “Lord,” they reply, “Let our eyes be opened.”
Recently, a friend asked me this same question. That is, if Jesus was here and asked me, “What do you want me to do for you?”, what would I say? After a brief pause I replied, “I would like to be useful.” Reflecting on that statement, I have been wondering why I do not feel useful. Just as the blind beggars sat by the side of the road feeling useless and cast aside because of their condition (blindness), I have also felt cast aside many times in my life because of my condition.
My condition is that I am a woman who has spent most of my life in churches that systematically exclude women. We have been asked to sit by the side of the road and be content. Women are often viewed as children, whom many believe should be seen and not heard. If you challenge this position then you are a rebellious, sinful woman and thus marginalized even further.
The two blind beggars were shouting at Jesus as he passed by, and the crowd tried to silence them. This action made them shout even louder! “Have mercy on us!” they exclaimed. And Jesus had compassion on them. He touched them and healed them.
This has been the cry of my heart for many years. Have mercy on me Jesus. Have mercy on me. And Jesus has responded with compassion through the healing touch of his followers. I have felt compassion from my seminary professors, my friends, and from the people at my current church. God is beginning to give me opportunities to exercise my gifts in the body of Christ and be encouraged to be useful. Unfortunately, this reality has not yet sunk fully into my heart, and I fear that things have not really changed.
At the end of the story, the two blind beggars did regain their sight and they became followers of Jesus. This is what you and I are called to do as well. Although I am still affected by the wounds of my past, Jesus is my healer and desires that I receive his healing touch and follow him. Perfect love casts out fear! I need to remember this. As we seek to follow in the footsteps of Jesus may we all live out our true calling and not allow the fear and judgment of others to derail us. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.