Reflection for Oct. 28, 2018
The Desperate, the Encouragers, and the Discouragers
Today, I will start with two stories. The first story is about a boy who loved drawing. It’s from a very beautiful book called The Little Prince. One day, he drew this picture (boa digesting an elephant without the inside view) and showed it to the grownups. They thought it was a hat. So, he drew them this picture (inside view of a boa digesting an elephant). Grownups said, “Drawing is silly. Why don’t you go and study math and history?” So, he became sad, stopped drawing, and became a pilot. But when his plane crashed and he met a beautiful little prince who asked him to draw him a lamb, this is what he drew because he had stopped drawing when he was young (bad drawing of a lamb). The Little Prince said, “That doesn’t look like a lamb. Draw me another one.” He drew him another one but the Little Prince said, “That doesn’t look like a lamb. Draw me another one.” So, he drew a box instead and said, “Here. The lamb you want is in the box.” Ladies and gentlemen, this is what happens when a child doesn’t get the encouragement he or she needs to succeed. He could have drawn a better-looking lamb!
The second story is a happy ending. This is Remy. He’s a rat, and he loves cooking. Everyone else said, “You’re a rat. You can’t cook.” But one day, this famous chef encouraged him. “Don’t let anyone stop you from becoming great.” Remy practiced cooking, and in the end, he became a great cook and impressed a difficult man, a food critic, with this dish called Ratatouille. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what happens when a child, or a talking rat, gets the encouragement he or she needs. Are we encouragers or discouragers?
In today’s gospel story, we can meet both encouragers and discouragers. Let’s watch what happens in today’s story.
(After the skit) In today’s story, we met three different types of people besides Jesus; someone who was desperate for help, someone who was positive and encouraging, and someone who was negative and discouraging. Bartimaeus was desperate for healing. He wanted to see because he couldn’t see. He heard about Jesus and thought, “I think he can heal me!” But there was a big crowd and he couldn’t see. How can he get to Jesus? He called Jesus with a loud voice, so he can hear him. In this process, some people discouraged him; “Be quiet!” But some people felt sorry for him and encouraged him; “Cheer up. Take heart. He is calling you.”
Bartimaeus was desperate and had the courage to seek what he needed. Jesus listened to him. Jesus helped him. Among the people following Jesus, some were nice to Bartimaeus and encouraged him; but some didn’t feel sorry for him and discouraged him. Remember when people brought children to Jesus, so he can bless them? His disciples tried to push them away. But Jesus loved the children and blessed them. Not only that; he even said little people are the most important people in God’s kingdom. There are a lot of little people in our world, and I’m not talking about children only. There are poor people, disabled people, people from other countries, gay, lesbians, and transgendered people, and many more who suffer injustice. They face a lot of limits to what they can do, or other people put them down for being different. Should we become encouragers and make them feel valued or become discouragers and make them feel bad?
We follow Jesus, so we should do what Jesus did. He welcomed all the suffering people and made them feel important and loved. He was welcoming, healing, and all things positive. Being negative is not the value of God’s kingdom. We live in a world full of negativity. People tend to focus on negative things; complain more than they feel thankful for the positive things. People attack and hurt each other and find it difficult to exercise compassion. Let us learn God’s compassion from today’s story. When we suffer, we cry out for help. When others suffer, we treat them with gentleness and encouragement. This is how we live together in God’s community. This week, and hopefully every day of our lives, let us be conscious about our attitude towards our lives and our relationships with others. Do we treat ourselves and others with compassion and encouragement? Let us pray to be encouragers and practice compassion every day.
Rev. Sunny Kim