A man retired after years of public service. He was heralded by the community for his contributions and thanked both publicly and privately by many who his service had impacted. Several years before, a situation had occurred that rocked the community’s sense of security and left a lasting impact on many lives.
During that situation the man had been a voice of reason and calm in the media. He had weathered many bad circumstances, and was able to speak with experience and wisdom to the community. When many could not see beyond the shock and disbelief of the event, this public servant brought them hope. He was also able to point out how much worse things could have been. Gratitude rather than anger helped many return to their lives, albeit changed and shaken.
As the details and dramatic stories continued to unfold, the public servant was often sought out for a quote or an interview. He took a decisive stand whenever the media tried to imply blame. The facts were still unclear, and he cautioned against speculation and false accusations. After some time, the responsible parties were incarcerated but the media continued to seek the man’s opinions. He was considered trustworthy by a majority of people in the community, and was often hounded by calls even late at night.
The man was approached by an individual who sought his approval on a new political bill, seeking to have his name and reputation associated with it. Although the cause was valid, the man refused. He explained that he had no interest in being in the spotlight, and wished that people would let him do his job and live his life, nothing more. The individual warned him that public opinion was often fickle, and advised that he should use his popularity for good while it lasted.
After a while, the man realized that his supervisor was no longer happy with him. Jealousy had set in and although he tried to deflect public interest about his views on various matters, the press continued to seek his opinions. After a few weeks, the man found himself moved to public relations for the department while his supervisor was demoted and remained bitter toward him.
For several years the man tried to balance the line between speaking for the department he reported to and a private life without media involvement. He moved to a new home and purchased a different vehicle and tried to blend in as best he could. Unfortunately, the actions of a family member put him back in the spotlight and he was obligated to set things straight to prevent family problems. During the ordeal, the man asked to retire, but was told that he was too valuable.
A good friend to the man was interviewed by a national news reporter, curious about the popularity of one man’s opinion. The intent was to present this as a human interest story. The friend related the circumstances that led to the man’s popularity, and the continued trust and support the community placed in him. The friend then conveyed the stress of the constant attention on the man, his wish to retire, and his increasing reluctance to go anywhere in public.
As a result of the news story, many letters were received asking that the man be allowed to retire. He had done enough service for the community, and should be free to pursue his own ambitions. It was apparent that further interviews and opinions would not be viewed positively by the public, and the man was suddenly allowed to step down and finally retire from giving his opinion.
—————Thoughts that motivated this story—————
In this story I wanted to reflect on captivity and release
24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
In Matthew 4:24 we read that everyone in Syria (and probably Galilee) was talking about Jesus. A virtually unknown man was healing people with miraculous results. People who had been turned away with a shrug by anyone with healing knowledge suddenly had the potential for a normal life. When I think how this impacted lives in a society where disease and abnormalities were considered judgment by God, I am certain it was confusing. If justice had been served by God, then why were these people being healed?
Matthew makes a point to tell us the sick people brought to Jesus did not have a simple fever or conditions that could be healed by herbs or medicine.
These incurable conditions not only affected the person with the malady, but cast a negative view on those associated with the person. The irony is that although these ‘damaged’ people were viewed as outcasts; (not fit in Jewish society), there were people that still cared about them. We know this because when news of a possible solution spread, many of these people were brought to Jesus.
Today we are generally tolerant and compassionate toward people with similar problems. The cases where there is no known cure or diagnosis are not met with the same judgment that people faced during Jesus time. Jesus could have spent all of the three years doing nothing but healing – had repairing broken bodies been enough. However, Jesus came with the purpose of setting the captive free. This captivity was not just to demon possession or physical conditions; it was captivity to sin and death itself. Jesus’ broken body was offered for all who would believe and be changes. It is not just a story we tell on Easter, it is personal.
Please note, parablesbymish has moved to parablesbymish.com