I have a wondering mind. I like to do mental gymnastics and ask myself “what if”. I sit and think about some of the most obscure things at times. I will watch a movie or TV show and contemplate the back story…but even more about the “after-story”. You know…what happened next? Did they survive? Did they end up getting married? How long did it take the war hero to recover from his wounds and what kind of physical therapy was needed?
Weird…I know. Welcome to the inside of my mind.
Let me share one of these mental excursions that I recently ventured on. Most of you are familiar with the Luke 5 story about how Jesus forgave and healed a paralyzed man (starting around vs. 17). This story starts with a description about some men who brought a paralyzed man, on a mat, to see Jesus. When they were not able to get the man close enough to Jesus…they got creative. They climbed on the roof (obviously not an OSHA approved endeavor), removed the roof tiles and lowered the man right down in front of Jesus. Then Jesus heals him…forgives his sins…and sends him on his way.
What an amazing miracle! We all rejoice and the people that day (except for the Pharisees) were amazed and praised God.
However…wondering minds contemplate the details that are not written in the gospels. What about X, Y and Z…for instance:
- How large was the hole in the roof? – if we assume a 5’10” man with some clearance, then the hole may have been 6′ by 3′. That is 18 square feet.
- Were there only “tiles” on the roof or did the roof have a substrate (a substance or layer that underlies something) or any other structure(s) that had to be removed?
- How long was the rope or other lowering apparatus?
- Where did they get the rope? I’m sure they didn’t make a run to Home Depot.
- Had the friends of the man planned all of these details out ahead of time?
While all of that is interesting fodder, the real question that I ponder is…Who Repaired the Roof?
There is no account of how the roof was restored to its functional form. The man was jumping and praising God…but what about this gaping hole in the roof? Did the friends just leave the hole for the property owner to repair? Did the friends ask Jesus to perform another miracle that day and fix the roof? Did the friends tell the healed man it was his responsibility since he was the one that benefited? Had they already entered into a contract with the local roofing company?
Here is what I think. I believe (I have no proof to back this up) that the friends went back and repaired the roof. Any friends that were selfless enough to carry their buddy on a mat…up to a roof…cut a hole…and lower him down, sound like honorable men. I believe honorable people like this would have gone back and repaired the roof. They would have taken responsibility for the physical condition of the place of ministry that day. They would have stepped up and done what was right.
Do you see any correlation between this story and Facility Stewardship? The roof did not heal the man. The house did not forgive his sins. The house was a TOOL to facilitate ministry and life transformation. I have preached that for years…but you also must care for the TOOL. It is tremendous to see the creativity of people using this TOOL to introduce people to Jesus. The TOOL played a role in this story…in fact, it was a pretty important part…but…it then needed to be restored to be used again on another day as a TOOL.
Facilities are only a tool.
Facilities cannot save or heal you.
But…facilities can be the tool that can make or break a spiritual connection. Can you imagine how this story might have been different if there was not a house with a roof? The paralyzed man may never have met Christ.