Thought for Thursday

And He entered again into the synagogue, and there was a man there which had a withered hand. Mark 3:1

I remember the old car that brought the mail to our rural mailbox beside the road when I was a little boy. The driver was a former soldier who had lost his right arm in the war. How he was able to drive that car and put the mail into the boxes along his route is beyond me. But he managed. It is surprising how much some people are able to accomplish despite physical disabilities, and their courage and perseverence is an inspiration to the rest of us. But the man in our text who had the withered hand was certainly at a disadvantage. We wonder how he came to be in that condition.

The withered hand speaks of inability to serve or work. Spiritually speaking, many Christians have withered hands, and have very little to offer in terms of their service to their Lord. Like a physically withered hand, a spiritual withered hand is a result of a birth defect, a lack of exercise, or a lack of nourishment.

A Christian whose withered hand is a result of a birth defect is a Christian who is still living in the same environment as they were in before they were saved. It is almost like they were never born again. They can do nothing for their Lord while they live in and for the world.

The Christian whose withered hand is a result of lack of exercise is one who has never gotten involved in any Gospel effort or Assembly activities. They can’t do anything because they never have. And there is no initiative on their part to flex their spiritual muscles and actually do anything. Pathetic condition, that.

The third group of Christians with a withered hand due to a lack of nourishment are those who spend no time in the Word of God or in the company of God’s people. They starve their souls by neglecting that which would build them up in their most holy faith. Powerless Christians, those.

There is a fourth group of withered handed people, those who have met with an accident. In the spiritual sphere, this is referring to Christians who have had a fall into sin. Until there is full restoration, there is no ability to serve. But this group of withered hands has hope of a return to strength and service, if they submit to the chastisement of the Lord.

We need to be careful we are not afflicted with withered hands. We also need to help those Christians who have this affliction, to lift them into the sphere of joyful service to Christ. – Jim MacIntosh

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