The Christmas season can be the most challenging time of the year for some people. A super talented software developer that worked for me, I’ll call him Able, once told me he spent every Christmas alone in his apartment drinking until he either passed out or Christmas was over.
On the outside Able was affable and a dedicated employee but inside he was indeed dying. I and others tried many times and with much prayer to help Able but, sadly, to no avail. One day his sister drove to his apartment and found he had finally drunk himself to death.
Ables surrounds us. Many are bruised, battered, betrayed, and, beaten down. By the thinnest of a thread, they hold onto faith in Jesus, feeling unworthy even to utter a prayer. It is these people that Jesus places at the front of His line. We should do likewise. Just look at Isaiah 42:3 (NIV), “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.”
A bruised reed – This speaks of a person who is fragile and easily waved by the winds of this world. To be bruised means they are broken or crushed, but not entirely broken off. Martin Luther said of this, “He [Christ] does not cast away, nor crush, nor condemn the wounded in conscience, those who are terrified in view of their sins; the weak in faith and practice, but watches over and cherishes them, makes them whole, and affectionately embraces them.”
A smoldering wick – This represents a person who is close to losing faith and hope. For this person, Jesus will cherish, feed, and cultivate what faith remains; he supplies it with the oil of grace for the dying flame.
We serve a good and loving God that seeks to save the lost and will keep those that are His. Let’s all do His will concerning these matters. Losing an “Able” hurts too much to be insensitive to the people around us.