Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash.

A relative of mine would yell at referees during basketball games,

“You blind Bartimaeus!”

This name-calling was, of course, meant as an insult.

(It was also problematic in ways I didn’t quite understand as a teenager.)

But Bartimaeus was wise.

He didn’t have to see Jesus to know who – and what – he was.

Bartimaeus was bold.

He didn’t quiet down when others tried to shush him.

Bartimaeus was honest.

He was clear with Jesus about what he hoped for.

Bartimaeus was faithful.

He was changed by his belief in Jesus’ power.

Bartimaeus was grateful.

He popped up, vision restored, and followed Jesus on the way.

I know what my relative was getting at,

but it’s not an insult to be called Bartimaeus.

I’d like to follow his witness of wisdom, boldness, honesty, faithfulness, and gratitude.

Come to me, Jesus,

and help me to follow your way.

Laura Stephens-Reed is a clergy and congregational coach working with ministers and churches across the ecumenical spectrum. Having served in a variety of pastoral roles and denominations, she is primarily affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and has ministerial standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Based in northwest Alabama (United States), Laura is married to a United Methodist pastor, and they have a eight-year-old son. She blogs weekly at

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