Casting Our Garments Away

In Mark’s account of the healing of Blind Bartamaeus (Mark 10:46-52) we have the same request we talked about yesterday: “Lord, I want to receive my sight.”  Lord, open our eyes.

There is a detail of the story that has always struck me.

It is the part about the blind man “casting away his garment” when Jesus took notice of his call for help.

I have heard an explanation about why it is important to note this detail that seems plausible to me.

It is that the garment described would have been that which he would have used to collect the coins that people, in their charity and pity, tossed his way.  It was not just a cloak, not just what he would have wrapped around him for what little comfort it could provide.  It was, in effect, his bank – filled with the only security he knew – as meager as it might be.

That’s why it is so significant that he tossed it aside to “rise up”and go to Jesus.

In his faith, he tossed it all aside, trusting Jesus for his renewed sight – and his security – for the future, wherever it might lead.

Can we show such faith? Can we stop hedging our bets and fully rely on God’s compassion?

We can, if like blind Bartamaeus, we – having received that compassion – follow Jesus “in the way.”

In comparison, a few coins wrapped in a tattered blanket, don’t seem so important.  Do they?

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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