Not Limited By My Limitations Mark 10:46-10:52
When we look at the success and lives of others, we may sometimes cry out in envy, that’s not fair. Why doesn’t that happen to me? Why can’t I have it like that. They get all the breaks. If we are not careful, we can become so consumed with envy and jealousy of others, we will miss out on what it is we are capable of having or doing ourselves. Life is always going to be unfair.
The mere decision you make to become a Christian, means you are choosing an unfair lifestyle. You can’t get even. You can’t have it all. You can’t expect others to love you simply because you do good. You can’t expect to never have problems, because God has promised all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. You will receive some spiritual gifts from God and not others. Even in the body of Christ, life is not fair.
God has something special and unique for you, because of who you are. We are all different with various strengths and talents. We are also different because of the limitations which we each possess. None of us are limited in the exact same way. The issue before us is, is will we learn from our limitations or use them as an excuse to not reach the potential God has placed within us.
Our temptation in facing limitations is to play the comparison game. Nothing destroys our contentment and peace, quicker than comparing ourselves to others. When Jesus told Peter, when you get old, somebody else is going to lead you by the hand and make you go where you do not want to go. Instead of Peter asking, Lord how will I be able to adjust to this situation, he said, now Jesus tell me about John. Is he going to have it rough too? It was as though Peter was saying, I don’t mind limitations on me, just as long as it also happens to him. Jesus said, your job is not to worry about John, your job is to follow me.
Limitations, setbacks and problems are a real fact in life. In the DUB Phillips translation of a part of 2 Corinthians he writes. We are handicapped on all sides, but we are never frustrated, we are puzzled, but never in despair, we are persecuted, but we never have to stand it alone. We may be knocked down, but we are never knocked out.
When we finally realize our limitations and handicaps, we then possess the ability for a real breakthrough. We as Christians are called to live in the real world, not some fantasy of God simply coming down and wiping away every problem and every tear. Sometimes we impose limits on our ability to deal with our problems, because we tried something a long time ago and it didn’t work. We have been limited in our ability to find a solution in God ever since that failure way back then.
We all know an Elephant can pick up a ton with his trunk. An Elephant is one of the most powerful animals there is. Yet if you go to a circus, you will see a massive animal tied to a little stake in the ground, and He will stay there. He has the potential to go anywhere he wants to go, but instead he simply looks around and possibly thinks about how it would be different if the rope wasn’t tied down.
You see the elephant’s problem is mental, not a physical limitation. When he was young, he was tied to a stake that was deep in the ground before he got his strength. He pulled and struggled as a youngster and just couldn’t get away from it. One day he accepted the fact he wasn’t going to get away. From then on, he decided, whenever he was tied to the stake he was stuck. The elephant has allowed the limitations, which has been placed upon it to keep it from becoming what it could possibly be.
It doesn’t cross his mind, he is not the same elephant he was years earlier without much strength. Nor does he recognize, the stake is not nearly as strong as it once was. Some of us need to wake up to the fact, we are not the same person we were back then. God has equipped us with additional strength and if we get up the nerve to challenge what’s holding us back, we could find a whole new world waiting for us to be in charge.
Many times we don’t put the limitations in our lives, somebody else put them on us and we accept them. You can’t do it. You won’t do it. You’ll never amount to anything. You’re just like your father. You can’t be anything without me. You owe me this. You never will graduate. You can’t leave me. Before we know it, we allow the pronouns to change just like the elephant to, I can’t do it. I won’t do it. I’ll never amount to anything. I’m just like my father. I owe them this. I can’t graduate. I can’t leave.
There are three times in life when people change because of their limitations. When they hurt enough that they have to, when they learn enough that they want to, and they receive enough that they are able to. The bible says there is a time and a season for everything under the sun. There may have been a time for you to be where you are, but that doesn’t mean you stay there forever. Your limitations don’t always have to be limitations if you place them in the right seasons of life. When asked about her success and the limitations she faced, Lucille Ball said, "Knowing what you cannot do, may be more important than knowing what you can do." Knowing what you cannot do may keep you from investing a lot of time and energy into something that’s not going to go anywhere. It is sometimes better to accept your losses and change course, than it is to continue to pour resources down the drain.
Fred Smith said "A problem is something you can do something about. A fact of life is something you can do nothing about. There are at least four limitations which are facts of life that all of us need to face. There is the limitations of our days. We are all going to die, and we don’t have forever to do what we may want to do. Psalm 90:12 says teach us to number our days that we might apply our hearts to wisdom. Don’t plan on coming to Jesus tomorrow, when the opportunity is there today.
There is the limitations of our gifts. We do not have all of the spiritual gifts and talents, nor do we all have the same ones. Nothing is going to change it, that is why we are the body of Christ We need each other to become all God wants us to be.
There is the limitations of our resources, we can’t have it all. There are financial limitations we have to accept until they change. Simply asking God for a million dollars is not going to pay our bills. We need to live within the resources God has provided us at this time and seek God for ways to increase them. There will always be those with a better financial picture than us whether it’s fair or not.
The fourth is the limitations in relationships. We cannot please everybody and can’t make everybody happy. None of us can make anybody love us. Some people are going to reject us no matter what we do. Now if we cannot accept these four limitations as facts of life, we are going to become very frustrated, envious and bitter people. That’s not what God has in mind for us.
Let’s look at how some of these things have been lived out in the life of a person in the Scriptures. The text is Mark 10:46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city.
The first thing I want you to notice here is that Jesus is leaving Jericho on his way to Jerusalem. There was a large crowd following him, but I know there were a lot of people in the town, that were too busy to go out and see Jesus on that day. They figured what’s the rush, I’ve got some limitations right now, but when he comes back through next week, I’ll set them aside and go see him.
They may have had the best of intentions of seeing Jesus, next week, but the fact of life is this was Jesus’ last trip through Jericho. He was on his way to Jerusalem to be crucified. Wouldn’t it be a great step forward if we could recognize when an opportunity was showing up for the last time or when we were about to give up something truly precious. We don’t know when some simple decision on our part to show up, to not show up, to sneak out or to sneak in is going to cause us to miss a great opportunity, or cause us to give us something of great value.
Saints do right, while you have the opportunity to do right, because Satan is determined to kill you, to steal from you, and to destroy you. Don’t let your limitations keep you from doing what God has told you to do.
As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus, (that is, the son of Timaeus) was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, "Jesus Son of David, have mercy on me!"
Bartimaeus had some limitations in his life. He was at the bottom of the economic ladder with little prospect for the future and he was blind. He could hear the noise, but couldn’t see what was going on. But he didn’t say, oh I’ve got this limitation, why should I even try to get involved. Bartimaeus asked somebody, "what’s going on." Somebody said "Jesus, the Son of David is coming by here." Bartimaeus said, are you talking about the one who they said, has been healing the sight of the blind and opening deaf ears, causing the lame to walk, and raising people from the dead.
The person said yes that’s the one. I want you to notice when they found out about this news, he didn’t sit back and say," well I hope he comes over hear and does something for me, because I have just had it so hard. Life just ain’t been fair for me all these years." My friends, Bartimaeus recognized a once in a lifetime opportunity was coming, and if he didn’t do something now, he might have blown it. He thought "I might not able to see how to get to him, but there’s nothing wrong with my vocal cords." He started shouting, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us."
When was the last time you were so bold enough to simply cry out to God and say God I need some help. I don’t care what others are thinking about me. I’m coming down for prayer because I need it, and I need it today. My friends you get too excited about getting God’s attention and people are going to try to shut you up. They want you to know, it doesn’t take all of that.
Look at verse 48. Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us!" Now the crowd was not going to do a thing for Bartimaeus. But they had the nerve to tell him, "man be quiet. Jesus doesn’t have time for you worthless beggar. You’ll never amount too much of anything, be content with the donations you’ve already received today. Here’s another dollar or two for your cup, not quit all that yelling."
This would have been enough for some of us to stop and be quiet. Yeah it was kind of stupid to think God would be interested in me. Do you know what Bartimaeus means? It means the son of the unclean. Which means Bartimaeus’ father must have had some limitation in his life which had made him unclean. Uncleanness had run in his family. His dad was no good. Now he’s no good.
Bartimaeus had reasons for feeling down. He even had reasons for giving in to his limitations. He could have said to himself, " Well I tried but I don’t want to keep making others upset. God put me here in this situation, He knows where I am if He wants to get me out. I should be happy that I did get some extra money for getting quiet when they told me to ."
You see saints, Bartimaeus was not facing a fact of life when others told him to be quiet. He was simply facing a problem. There was something he could do about this thing. The problem was, do I keep quiet to win the favor of others, or do I keep as much noise as possible until I get Jesus’ attention. He chose the latter.
The negative discouragement of others he took and turned it around to his own advantage and started yelling all the more. He figured if those around them were telling him to be quiet, then those around them must have figured Jesus might be able hear him. Therefore he shouted it even louder. " Son of David have mercy on me."
I want you to notice something here. Just because you have a limitation in your life, does not mean others are going to try to help you. Those people around Bartimaeus, could have led him, by the hand to Jesus, but they didn’t. They didn’t even want Jesus to know he was there.
You see, in order to move beyond your particular limitation, you’ve got to decide to do whatever you can do for you. People are not interested in always seeing you succeed. They may see your success means they’re missing out on something they could have had. Be prepared to go against the crowd to reach your potential. You might not have all that you need to complete the process, but you’ve you got you and God and that’s all you need to start it.
All Bartimaeus had at the moment was a loud mouth. That was all he needed to get Jesus’ attention. Verse 49 Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." So they called to the blind man, "Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you."
When Jesus stops and calls you out, you may as well get ready for people to start acting differently around you. When others see you are finally on your way up and out of your situation, all of a sudden they want to be your friend. They wouldn’t do a thing to help you get started, but they want a piece of your limelight. The same group that told him to close his mouth and be quiet, is now saying, oh cheer up. Jesus is calling for you. Let me help you over there. They forgot all the reasons they had given him why he should have kept his mouth closed.
Now just supposed for a moment what would have happened, if instead of Bartimaeus kept on calling for Jesus, he had started telling off those who told him to be quiet. Do you see you can miss out on God’s calling on you, by taking the time to fight with people who want to keep you in your place. Don’t go down to the level of others with name-calling. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
Bartimaeus got the news that Jesus was calling, and just like he didn’t get any help when he was yelling out, he didn’t get any help on the way over. He didn’t wait around complaining about who would help him get to Jesus, or if someone would ask Jesus to come over to him, after all he had the limitations. No, verse 50 says Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 "What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him. The blind man said, "Rabbi, I want to see." If you’re coming to Jesus, you ought to know why it is that you’re coming. If God said today, "I’m willing to give you what you ask for, what is it that you’re asking for that’s going to make a difference. Bartimaeus could have settled for a lot less. He could have said, you know Jesus, I’ve fallen on some hard times financially, do you think you could make a sizable donation to my cup."
Isn’t that how we so often treat God. God has unlimited power to inject in our situation, and all we want from God is enough money to cover the bills. Jesus said, "I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly. Life isn’t determined by the amount of cash donation God puts into our cups. Bartimaeus’s desire was to have Jesus better equip him to reach his full potential.
52 "Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. Bartimaeus got what he wanted, and noticed what he did. He followed Jesus. The temptation is to get what we want from God, and then go on about our merry way. Jesus told Bartimaeus his faith had healed him. This passage does not mean God takes away every limitation we face, in the way we desire it to be taken but that God is able to do it.
There are some limitations, which will be there for a lifetime, but God gives us the victory over them. The apostle Paul is believed to have had an eye disease. He prayed and asked God to remove it, but God said no, My grace is sufficient for your needs. Paul’s sickness didn’t hinder him from being one of the greatest missionaries the church has known. There are some in our midst who likewise have been healed by God, not by the limitation being removed, but by God’s grace being sufficient to allow them to adjust.
All of us face limitations, but we need not be limited because God still has a call, a plan, and a purpose for our lives. When we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, we find an unlimited power to save us from sin, to save us from ourselves, and to save us from developing an envious and jealous spirit of others. Look not at your limitations, but to Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith.