Last week's Gospel reading (Mark 10:46-52) was the story about Bartimaeus, a blind man who's persistence led Jesus to restore his sight.
Just about every homily and sermon I have heard on this passage highlights what great faith Bartimaeus showed. This is true, of course. People all around him were shouting at him and telling him to keep quiet. But he persisted. He kept calling for Jesus.
That in itself is a beautiful lesson for all of us.
But the part that always gives me pause is what happened next.
Jesus asked Bartimaeus "What do you want me to do for you?"
Oh how I wish he had been like that thief crucified next to Jesus, and asked for a ticket to Paradise instead! I always wondered why this poor man wasted his "one wish" on such a physical, worldly thing, when he could have asked for something so much greater! After all, his sight came with an expiration date. But a place in the Kingdom would have been forever!
Of course, every time I lament about his "wish", I realize that there have been plenty of times in my life where I did the exact same thing. Times where I asked for - or worried about - silly things. Meaningless things. Times I pestered God for things that He knew weren't important. Times I should have been "asking" God for a seat at His table instead.
And so, whenever I hear this passage, I stop and thank Bartimaeus for giving me a lesson in persistence.
And then I thank him for, inadvertently, giving me a good dose of perspective as well.