Day 1: Recognize the Shepherd
Bartimaeus had two problems: he was blind and he was poor. The first begat the latter. The ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius observed that in a well-governed country, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a badly governed country, wealth is something to be ashamed of. In this case, poverty was nothing Bartimaeus should have been ashamed of.
Bartimaeus was not on the sidelines because he was unwilling to work but because of his inability to see. A lack of vision will impact your life more than you can imagine!
Living off the charity of strangers was humiliating, an indignity Bartimaeus no longer wanted to bear. Although he was physically blind, his heart (spiritual vision) could see well enough to recognize God when He showed up. Helen Keller famously said, "The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision."
Bartimaeus had heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. The fact that this man could not use his eyes did not stop him from using his voice. God always leaves us with something. Your feet may not work, but maybe your hands do. You may not have been born rich, but you were born able to work. You may not have had many people ask you out, but you don't need a lot, only the right one. We don't always have all that we desire, but if we will work with what we have, we will be amazed at what we can do.
It is interesting to note that Bartimaeus called Jesus the Son of David. This was a messianic title taken from the Old Testament that foretold the kingdom that Jesus would initiate. While Bartimaeus may not have had extensive knowledge of God's Word due to his blindness, he knew enough Scripture to recognize Jesus as the Son of David and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. We don't have to be scholars to recognize God. If by nature a sheep can distinguish and identify the voice of its shepherd, surly we have adequate innate wiring to recognize the voice of our Shepherd.