I do not wish to imply that people are a problem or a burden to our schedules. However, the fact is, sometimes it is difficult to work everything into a busy schedule.
Jesus earliest followers were sometimes forced to think outside the box. We read of one occasion in Mark 2. Four men brought a paralytic to Jesus. They could not get the man to Jesus, because of the crowds. They had to think outside the box. They went on top of the house, made a hole through the roof, and lowered the man to Jesus. Their efforts paid off. Jesus healed their friend. I would think the four men felt awkward ripping a hole in the man’s roof.
I think this story can help us by reframing certain aspects of our ministry. This story sheds some light on the phrase, “where there is a will, there is a way.” Sometimes when there is no way to get things done, we need to think outside the box. Example: if you do not have time to make all your ministry visits, lunch meetings work just fine.
For me personally, the story in Mark 2, challenges me to get outside my comfort zone. All of us have different tolerance levels in getting outside the box. Those comfort zones are real. Some people get out of the box with very little stress. For others, getting outside the box raises their stress level. The four ministry servants in Mark did not let that deter them. They did their most effective work by getting outside their comfort zone.
The most encouraging part of this story is that Jesus was pleased/blessed by four people who were not afraid to think outside the box. The issue is not thinking outside the box, just for the sake of being different. Sometimes the only way to get the job done is to do things a different way.
Today there are so many ideas, resources, and innovative tools for reaching people. I once heard a pastor discuss a skate-board ministry his church started. He indicated his church was reaching a good many young men through the ministry. Other churches have addiction ministries, food closets, motor-cycle ministries, and the like.
The important thing is that we determine what works in our context. The four men, in our text, were desperate to get the paralytic to Jesus. This raises another important question for us and our church. How desperate are we to get people to Jesus? Without desperation it is easy to be critical of methods!
May we move beyond that barrier and try something outside the box.