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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Crews

Pick Up the Mat


In Jenny Allen’s book Find Your People, she talks about having authentic relationships with authentic people. Her point: We were made for community. She points out how in America, “We spend our evenings and weekends tucked into our little residences with our little family or our roommates or alone, staring at our little screens. We make dinner for just us and never want to trouble our neighbors for anything. We fill a small, little crevice called home with everything we could possibly need, we keep our doors locked tight, and we feel all safe and sound. But we’ve completely cut ourselves off from people outside our little self-protective world. We may feel comfortable and safe and independent and entertained. But we also feel completely sad… research says that three in five Americans report being chronically lonely, and that number is ‘on the rise” (p 4-5).


Though I read this book years ago, that imagery has stuck with me. I was reminded of it the other day when I was reading Matthew 9. Jesus had just gotten off of a boat. He was asked to leave the last town because He cast out demons that entered into pigs. They in turn ran off the edge of the cliff. But, as He was entering His own town, Capernaum, it reads, “...some men brought to Him a paralytic lying on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, ‘Have courage, son, your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2). 


When I’ve read this before, I’ve always focused on the fact that Jesus healed a man, and in turn the scribes nearby accused Him of blaspheming. However, what I’ve failed to focus on is the fact that this man literally could not get to Jesus on his own. He needed His friends to help him. 


We are more isolated than ever, which means we also need each other more than ever, and not just in a digital way. We need each other in the mess, in our weakness, and in our day-to-day life. We need each other to help pick one another up from the mat and to help us stay the course. 


Friends, we were made for relationship with God and with each other. We see this over and over again throughout Scripture. At times, it is easier to isolate ourselves, to pull back and close the walls, especially after we feel hurt or betrayed. However, as Allen pointed out in her book, that’s doing nothing for us but harm. This weekend, especially after a holiday, let’s focus on connection. Let’s focus on reaching out and continuing to reach out. Let’s be the friends who pick up the mat and carry the ones who need it. And if you’re the person on the mat and you’re stuck or doubting, reach out to someone and get connected. You were not meant to do this alone. We were not meant to do this alone.


Happy 4th of July, friends! Have a great weekend!


"He said to him, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself."


Matthew 22:37-38

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