The Power to Act on Our Dreams
Roy Blizzard III © 2014
Text Mark 3:1-5
3 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. 2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. 3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. 4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. 5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
And the story began… And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. Here was a man who was severely handicapped. He could think of many things to do, but his hand was withered. He couldn’t translate his thoughts into deeds. The hand represented Action but his hand was withered and he therefore was unable to act on his desires.
In my life, in and around the church, I have met many people who have this handicap, although for most it has been simply a figurative handicap, but the same type nonetheless. They have big dreams and plans, but somehow they never quite have what it takes to actually carry out those plans and dreams. I’ve met many people who have told me they would love to become missionaries or have some great work in the church and make their lives count for more somehow, but they never ever acted on their hopes and dreams. They somehow kept putting off the act necessary for the dream to become reality. They couldn’t quite take the step, the leap of faith so to speak. They had the right idea, but their hands were withered!
Now I’ll tell you that I have spoken to many people who have had a problem with booze. But, I have never spoken to one of them who weren’t quick to say that it wasn’t somehow hurting their lives and most would say they were trying to stop or give it up. But, most had withered hands. They couldn’t quite carry out their wishful thinking. They lacked the Power to translate their Desires into Action!
A man once told me he wanted to give some money to God’s work. I asked him how long he had wanted to do so and he told me that he had been thinking about it for several years. The man clearly Wanted to Give to God, but his hand was withered. He doesn’t really have the power to do what he thinks he wants to do. Of course, to some extent, we are all afflicted with a bit of the handicap of the withered hand. We all will have ideas that we want to put into action, but most often we fail to act.
Have you ever been to a funeral where someone was speaking of the deceased and how good they were and that they would have loved to go and visit the person before they passed, but they had failed to do so and now it was too late. Their heart was grieved over their failure to Act on their desires to do good.
There is an old saying, you may have heard it, “If wishes were horses, all beggars would ride.” It is good to dream of the fine things we want to be and want to do, Before Lucky Lindy – Lindberg flew across the Atlantic, he had dreamed about it many times. Edison thought about the Electric Light for many years. All great Actions begin in our Minds, but the failures of those Actions also begin in the mind and cause you to fail to act on your dreams and ideas.
Look into your own mind and see how many good things you have there which you thought about doing for Jesus, but as of yet, you haven’t had the perfect opportunity or you think you lack some special ability or sufficient training, or you just haven’t felt like it. All of these excuses are just another name for the obvious handicap which we call “the withered hand”. You think well, but you fail to act. The fruit withers on the vine.
To the man with the withered hand Jesus said, “Stand forth.” That is to say, “You have drifted long enough; now let’s take control of the situation”. There comes a time when we must take command of our thoughts and translate them into deeds.
The great jurist of the US Supreme Court, Oliver Wendell Holmes, said, “Many people die with their music still in them.” To a great extent, this is true of us all. We all have abilities to do many things that we never actually do, but some are much better at acting than others.
The great American essayist, lecturer, and poet of the mid-19th century, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said, “You never know what you can do until you try”.
Now at this point you have to understand that in order for us to translate dreams into reality we really do need the mind of Jesus in our lives and the power of God in our lives to transform our dreams into reality. Under the inspiration of Jesus and the Holy Spirit we can accomplish all as it says in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” In fact, we should not be hindered to try and do things we never dared to do before. In fact, I will go so far as to say that there is almost no limit to what we can do for God and his Kingdom!
When Jesus met the man with the withered hand at the synagogue that day, he told him first to stand forth. Jesus wanted this man’s full attention. Then Jesus said to him, “Stretch forth thy hand.” Jesus didn’t look at that withered hand and exclaim how bad it looked and how sorry he was for this man’s condition or even ask him how it happened. Jesus just told him to “stretch forth thy hand”.
In other words, we’ve passed the time for talk and now we are at the point of action. However, this poor man was incapable of action by himself. I’m sure that many tinmes he had wanted to use his hand but he couldn’t. His will power was not strong enough to overcome the weakness of his body.
So often we make resolutions but we fail to keep them because we are weak in our minds. Let me tell you a story. One time there was an old farmer who was trying to get his old balky mule to move, but he was not having any success. One of his young nephews asked his uncle, “Why don’t you try and use your will power to get the old mule to move?” The old famer replied, “I done tried it and it don’t do no good. He’s using his won’t power and it is stronger than my will power.”
Within each of us there is a will power and a won’t power. We have the desires, but at the same time we tell ourselves that it is no use to try. We say to ourselves, “I will”, but our minds shout back at us, “You can’t”!, and you won’t. Won’t power is simply Power in Reverse and it is actually easier for most of us to drift backwards that to push forward. So, therefore, in our own strength, we fail.
We remind ourselves of Moses. As a young man he bitterly resented the fact that his people were in slavery. In fleshly anger one day he struck out and killed an Egyptian man. No doubt he felt he must do something to help his people, but then he realized the hopelessness of the task as a simple enslaved man and his hand was withered.
Moses went off into the countryside and day after day watched over the sheep and he had time to think about the situation, but think is all he ever did. Probably, some day he did intend to do something, but the time slipped by, the weeks and months turned to years until 40 years had gone by. Then God decided that Moses’ hand had been withered long enough.
First, God had to get Moses’ attention. God had to set a bush on fire but not consume the bush to get Moses’ attention. In other words, God had to do something so extraordinary to get Moses’ attention that Moses couldn’t use his won’t power. God may do many things to try and get our attention and oftentimes God has to put us on our backs to get our attention before we look up. With Moses’ attention, God spoke, telling Moses to go lead his people out of captivity. But once again, Moses’s won’t power kicked in and he started making excuses. However, this time God told him that He would give him the power. And with the help of God, Moses became mightier than Pharoh’s army and stronger than the Red Sea.
To the man whose hand was withered, Jesus said, “Stretch forth thy hand”. Notice the complete confidence of Jesus. He had no doubt the man could and would respond. Jesus is saying, “You can do it.” Up to now the man had not been able to do it. His own will power was insufficient. But now, the will power of Jesus became his will and he could do things he couldn’t do before.
I’ve seen this often in church in my life. Invitations are offered for people to make a decision for Jesus. Sometimes people respond and as a result their lives are changed. What is the secret? Their Mind becomes God’s mind. Their will becomes God’s will. Their life becomes God’s life. Their existence becomes God’s existence. By surrendering our Won’t power to God and accepting Jesus’ Will power into our lives we receive Jesus’ saving and transforming power. It is the power of Jesus within our lives and existence that makes the difference.
Many time we hear a voice saying, “Stretch forth thine hand.” But we hold back, we hesitate, we make excuses. We give birth time and again to defiance instead of surrender to the greatness and creative and regenerative power of God. Are we ever going to stop turning to our won’t power instead of accepting God’s Will Power? In Isaiah 40:28-31 God says this, “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
I’ve told you before that in Hebrew, this passage literally says that God will exchange your measly fleshly power for his Glorious creative power and that God will carry you through and not let you grow weary in meaningless endeavors.
We can do all if we desire to change. We can accomplish that which God wants us to, but we must make a decision to allow God to make the changes within us. Will you make that decision for Jesus today? His power can make us what we were created to be!by