Paralysis By Analysis (Mark 3:4)

“You have to make a decision by today!”


The two microscopes were state of the art, about equally priced, and positioned on a table in front of me. The bells and whistles were slightly different and would enable me to do different but complementary diagnostic procedures. I agonized over the options and lamented, “Why couldn’t I have this scope with the other’s technical advantages?” Sighing, I rolled my eyes and said, “Why couldn’t I buy both?”


The company that was selling the microscopes was just acquired by another and the salesperson, with whom I had a good working relationship, wanted to give me an opportunity to purchase a microscope before all of her inventory was made available to the general public. She knew I was in the market for another and brought me two models to demo and compare, but I needed to make the decision by the end of the day.


In retrospect, the decision should not have been as difficult as I made it but I was not being honest with myself. I was focused upon the aesthetic details of one of the microscopes, a slick streamlined beast with the latest ergonomic features and was willing to overlook the shortcoming of some of its technical specifications, which were adequately handled by it’s less attractive partner. I saw merit in either decision but was unwilling to see the truth and focused upon the granular unnecessary details rather than the overall practical and fundamental issue. Which microscope will allow me to be a better dermatopathologist?


Paralysis by analysis.


And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent.

Mark 3:4 (ESV)


Jesus Christ was confronted by the Jewish leaders who were upset that He healed a man on the Sabbath, the Jewish day of rest. No one was supposed to do any work on that day. In fact, an elaborate set of rituals and restrictions, written by the Jewish leaders, had been compiled to restrict any unnecessary activities and prevent any violations of the Sabbath. While these rules were laudable and initially did help the Jewish people focus upon the holiness of the Sabbath, the rules soon became the focus rather than the true reason for the Sabbath.


What is the answer?


We should always do good and save life on the Sabbath, but the Jewish leaders were so absorbed in following the letter of the Law they could not see beyond the rules and regulations to the heart of the message. It was paralysis by analysis.


God frees us from all distractions and releases us from paralysis, but we can only do this by confessing and repenting of our sins and laying our shortcomings at the Cross. We must accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Only then will He will heal our paralysis and free us to enjoy His creation the way He intended for all of us.




Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.


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