SERMON TITLE: “Take Courage”
SERMON TEXT: Mark 10:46-52
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: November 14, 2021, at First UMC
With Veteran’s Day this past Thursday, the news media have been retelling some stories of courage both on the battlefield and back at home as Veterans struggle with ongoing physical and mental health challenges. Those stories reminded me of another person’s courage.
In his book Tough Times Don’t Last, But Tough People Do, Robert Schuler told of the story of Charlotte Valente. “By the age of 6, Charlotte had been in and out of the hospital 85 times. She [had] a rare disease in which her bones [would] break very easily. She had over 200 fractures by the time she was 10, but she was a delightful little girl, always smiling and very positive. Charlotte couldn’t walk,” explained Schuler, “because . . . her normal development had been permanently distorted. She [wasn’t expected to ever] weigh more than 50 pounds in her entire lifetime. [But] she went to high school and graduated. Then she picked a university that had ramps equipped for the handicapped. She was accepted and graduated four years later Cum Laude. [And] Charlotte did not stop there,” wrote Schuler. “She went on to law school and passed the state bar exam. All 50 pounds of her. That’s courage!”1
No matter who we are, courage is something we could all use more of. In Mark 10, I suppose that’s why the people standing around Bartimaeus told him to “Take courage!” when Jesus said for him to come over. Different Bible translations put it a little differently. Our New Revised Standard Version pew Bibles say, “Take heart!” The New International Version translates the instruction as “Cheer up!” But the basic meaning of the original Greek word was “Be encouraged!” or “Take courage!”
This morning I’d like us to consider this gospel story of Jesus and Bartimaeus. Let’s see how this story will help us to take courage.