Will Work For Food

John 5:1-8 says: “Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.”

The question that Jesus asked the lame man at the pool was “Do you want to get well?”. Since everyone was there waiting for an angel to stir the water so they could be healed, why would Jesus ask such a ridiculous question? “Do you want to get well?” Of course he does! I yelled at the bible. Why would he be there if he didn’t want to get well? It had to be that Jesus knew something that we didn’t.

We all know people who profess to want help out of their circumstance, but really want help to stay in it. I like to call them “we will work for food people”. In Hot Springs, Arkansas it was a common sight to see them. People sitting at heavy traffic areas with a hand printed, cardboard sign that says “will work for food”, or something like it. Several times while I was a youth pastor in Hot Springs I constantly had jobs were I could use some help. When these projects would come up I would stop and offer them simple, unskilled labor type work. Not once did I find any one who would take me up on the offer, even though they seemed able bodied and even though their sign said otherwise. I got an array of reasons that people couldn’t work paintbrushes and brooms. My conclusion was that they didn’t want to work for food at all. As long as people continued to toss money to them for just sitting there, why would they?

So I believe that is why Jesus asked the question. He knew that when he healed the man he would be faced with responsibility.

So what was the lame man’s answer? He said “I have no one to help me into the pool.” What a ridiculous question followed by a non-answer. This answer is so typical for someone who lives in “excus-a-polusa”.

I find that so many Christians are “we will work for food” people. They are looking for a free hand out from God. They want the food but aren’t willing to work for it.

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