Today I want to address two key qualities that are important if we want to reach our goals: persistence and knowing what you want. There’s a story in the Bible about a blind man named Bartimaeus that illustrates both of these points.
Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “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!”
Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
In the first part of the story, Bartimaeus shows the first quality—persistence. Bartimaeus probably had heard about Jesus before, and that he had done miraculous healings in the past. When he heard Jesus was passing by, this was his chance, and he called out to Jesus. His shouting was bothering the crowd, however, and they tried to shut him up. Maybe they told him Jesus was busy, and couldn’t be bothered right now. It would have been easy for Bartimaeus to shrink back and say, “Oh well, I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.” But Bartimaeus would not be deterred. He was persistent and shouted even louder to Jesus.
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
Boom! The persistence paid off.
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
When I first read this story, I thought this was a strange question. The man was blind—of course he wanted Jesus to heal him. But it’s interesting that Jesus asked the question. What did Bartimaeus want? I think sometimes in our lives, we might think we want something, but deep down we don’t really want it. For example, we might think we want to be free from an addiction, but deep down we want to continue drinking or using drugs because it feels good, and when we are intoxicated, we don’t have to face the fact that we need to take responsibility and build a life we can be proud of. Jesus wanted to be sure that the blind man knew what he really wanted for himself.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Bartimaeus was clear. He knew what he wanted. He wanted to see. And because of his persistence, and his clear want, Jesus healed him.
Think about an area in your life that you are struggling or want to make a change. How is your persistence? Are you applying consistent work and effort toward your goal every day? How do you react when you face opposition? Be steadfast and persistent. Keep your eye on the prize.
Also, how clear are you about what you want? Is your goal well-defined and clear? Do you have any competing wants that actually push you in the opposite direction of your goal? These competing goals might be unconscious. Get clear with yourself about what you really want.