I have a treat for you all today. I am just sure you will love it–a special guest blogger!

Ron Edmondson is the pastor of Grace Community Church and founder of Mustard Seed Ministry. Ron blogs regularly on leadership, family and church life at http://www.ronedmondson.com.

Ron and his wife, Cheryl, have a heart for Kingdom-building, including in their own home. They have two sons, Jeremy, 21 and Nathaniel, 19 who have both experienced a call to full-time ministry.
Pick Up Your Mat And Walk

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” John 5:8 NIV

In order to appreciate the value of Jesus’ command, you need to consider the culture of the day. Today, although some may feel we don’t do enough, there are limited opportunities for the physically handicapped to work and lead productive lives. In Christ’s time on earth, the handicapped were outcast. They lived off handouts they could obtain from begging.

In the above instance, the man had been crippled for a long time. Probably the only possessions he had were the clothes on his back and the mat on which he lay. The mat was almost a symbol of the only hope in his life. His existence was one to be pitied. There was no known cure for what ailed him (except Jesus), and even if there had been, he certainly couldn’t have afforded it.

Jesus had sympathy for the man, and with the spoken word, the man was healed. Jesus told him to “Get up!” take his mat and walk. Obviously, this was a gift greater than anything money could have bought.

Whenever I read this verse, this question comes to mind:

What mat am I holding on to today? What mat are you?

This man was holding on to his mat. It had surely become a treasured possession to him. He slept on it, rested on it, and watched the world pass by on it. He couldn’t have imagined facing the day without it. Jesus tells him to pick it up and walk. When Jesus was finished with the man, he didn’t need the mat anymore. It would take faith to trust Jesus and attempt to walk, but the victory was worth it all. Instead of a mat of hope, this man had the hope of Christ!

What would Jesus have you and I pick up today? What are you holding on too tightly as your hope?

Are you drowning in your sorrow, because you refuse to completely trust God? Are you moping about the setbacks of your life, because you have failed to accept His grace? Are you suffering from the sin that has wrecked everything around you, because you won’t submit yourself to accountability? Do you hold back from committing to God because you are afraid He won’t accept you?

Whatever you are holding on to tighter than your faith, I believe Jesus would say, “Pick up your mat and walk!” Trust Him with that in which you currently trust the most. Permit Him to see you through the difficult days of life. Allow Him to carry your burdens, strengthen your walk and brighten your hope for the future.

Jesus wants to help you. Listen for His command to pick up your mat and walk!

What is that one thing you’ve never been able to let go of, but know you need to do so?