Now, this morning all of us know something about pressing. “Pressing your way;” that means going against the odds to do something; it means despite every obstacle that stands in your way you force your way through. It’s pushing against the wind. “I didn’t feel like coming to church because I was feeling bad but I came anyway! I pressed my way!
Everything that could go wrong did; one thing after another got in my way, but here I am.” To press means leaving the comfort zone. It’s when things are not convenient; it means when it takes everything within you to do something, and it means doing it when it is uncomfortable. That’s the press. Some can say on Sunday morning, “I would not have come to church this morning if I had not pressed my way.” “Many days I would not have gone to work if I had not pressed my way.” Some things you know you would not have got if you had not pressed your way to get it; convenience will knock us out of a lot of things if we wait for a convenient time to do it.
Some things we are only going to get if we press. For example, if the woman with the issue of blood had not got in the press behind Jesus and touched the hem of his garment, she would not have been healed (St. Mark 5:25-27). Convenience did not heal her, because she had been conveniently sick for twelve long years, and Jesus did not come where she was. She got in the press and went where he was, and even in her press when she got there, getting to him was not convenient because there was a crowd all around him (verse 31).
So she had to press through the press just to touch his clothes, and only then did she receive her healing (verse 29). Now I know, that there are a variety of folk reading this morning that are dealing with different issues, and no two issue are just alike. Some are dealing with family issues. Some are dealing with spiritual conflict issues. Some are dealing with personal issues.
Some have issues with things that I did not mention; everybody has something going on. Look beyond the pretty dress and the nice suit; look beyond the smile because there’s some hidden things behind some of that, and we have to admit that sometimes we just don’t feel like doing a certain thing. Sometimes it takes all we can do to keep pushing forward: loss of job, divorce, sickness and loss of a loved one can sap the very energy out of us, but we press; because we know if we give in to our feelings we all would be sitting home in our rocking chair with a shawl wrapped around our shoulder feeling sorry for ourselves. Sometimes we have to get up and press our way through; we have to stay mobile. “If I stay home from church I’m going to hurt and have pain; so I might as well go to church, for at least at church when the anointed word comes, the anointed singing or the pastor’s prayer goes up we’ll feel so much better!”
In the grocery store I observe people having to use mobile carts just to get around in the store; they have to park in handicapped parking to make it more convenient; community, until we have had to struggle with something, we don’t know what it means to have to press our way!
Young people can’t identify with this because they are young, energetic and strong; but if they could understand the press, the struggle, then they would not park in a handicap parking when they know that they are not handicapped. I don’t care if they do have grandma’s handicap sticker in the window! Community, it’s a blessing when you have two good legs, two good feet and you can walk!
When you don’t have to press your way just to get in a store, but community you read it right here when I say there’s a blessing in the press! In Mark’s gospel, four men brought a man who was paralyzed on his bed, but when they got to the house it was so crowded until even the door was blocked by the press (St. Mark 2:1-4).
But they didn’t let that stop them; they went up on the roof, tore off the tiling and let the man down on his bed in the midst of Jesus (verse 4). They were pressing their way through; they did not simply “pray about it,” but they put some feet to their prayers. They worked together, and because they did Jesus rewarded their efforts.
The man received forgiveness of sins (verse 5) and healing for his body (verses 11,12). Community, Jesus will always bless us when we press our way, so let’s not become a victim of our circumstances. Anytime we press our way to church, bible study or anything spiritual Jesus will always meet us there. So in spite of how we feel this morning or what’s going on, let’s get up and press our way through.
The Rev. George T. Ellis is pastor of Union Grove Baptist Church. Reach him at email@example.com.