Blind, Kind Bartimaeus

© 1998 Kurt Hunter

A long long time ago, there lived a man named Bartimaeus.  Bartimaeus was a very old man, and Bartimaeus was a very kind man, but Bartimaeus was also a blind man.  In those days there were no jobs that a blind man could do.  So every morning Bartimaeus would walk to the city gates and every morning he would sit on the same tree stump.

As crowds of people would come into the city he would ask if anyone had a coin they could spare, or maybe a piece of bread.  Most people simply passed him by as they hurried into the city, even though these people would not even look at him, Bartimaeus would always offer a kind word to them as they hurried by.  “May God bless you this day”, he would say. 

Every once in a while someone would stop and they would give him a coin, or a piece of bread, or a fish.  Most would just offer what they had and quickly go on, but some would stop to talk for a moment.   Only by the kindness of these people, he did not know, was Bartimaeus able to survive.

One day a very rich man was coming into the city.  Bartimaeus heard him walking by and said, sir, could you spare a coin?   The rich man became very upset.  “Why should I give you anything,” he yelled!  “If you are blind, it is because you have sinned against God.”  “I have worked very hard for all I have.”  “Why should I give anything to you?”  With that, the rich man stormed off.

Bartimaeus could have been very mad, because he knew what the rich man said was not true.  He had been blind since he was a baby.  How could a baby have sinned against God?  But Bartimaeus did not get upset.  For Bartimaeus knew that this man needed kindness just as much as he did.

Sitting by the gates all day was very lonely.  In truth Bartimaeus had only one real friend.  A girl named Jessie would come to visit him almost every day.   Jessie and her family were also very poor, but sometimes her mother would give her a piece of bread to give to Bartimaeus.

One day a particularly large crowd was coming down the road.  “What’s happening,” said Bartimaeus.  “Can you tell?”  Jessie squeezed her way through the crowd to see what the excitement was.  When she came back she said, “These people are following the prophet Jesus.”  “I must get to Him!”, said Bartimaeus.  “Where is he?, Please help me Jessie!”

Jessie tried to help him through the crowd, but it had gotten too thick.   “It’s no use,” said Bartimaeus.  But Jessie wouldn’t give up!  “Jesus!, Jesus!”, she yelled! Bartimaeus started yelling too, “Jesus, have mercy on me!”   They yelled as loud as they could and waved their arms. The people in the crowd tried to make them stop, but they wouldn’t.

Jesus heard their cries.  “Bring this man to me”, He said.  “What do you want?”, asked Jesus.  “O Master, I want to see”, said Bartimaeus.  “Then it is done”, said Jesus.  “Your faith has healed you!”

And in an instant, Bartimaeus could see.  “Oh thank you Master!”, said Bartimaeus.  “This is my friend Jessie, without her help, I never would have reached you!”  “Oh, Jessie”, said Bartimaeus, “I can never thank you enough for all your kindness.”   “Your kindness has always made my days brighter and now it’s so bright I can see.” 

And that is what kindness will do.  Kindness will always make each day a little brighter.