Devotion for the Week...
Over the past couple of years, I've had a handful of times when I was sick over the weekend. Usually my weekends are jam-packed with things I need to do (house cleaning, groceries, etc.) and things I want to do (sewing, usually!), but on those weekends I've been sick I end up just sitting in a chair and accomplishing nothing. It drives me crazy! I feel like I have this huge list of things I should be or want to be doing and I can't do any of it. It feels like such a huge waste of time.
There's a brief story in the gospels about Jesus healing Peter's mother-in-law...well, at this point Peter was still called Simon, so that's what he's called in these verses, but I'll be referring to him as Peter :) Luke records it this way: "Jesus left the
synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was
suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them" (Luke 4:38,39).
That last sentence used to annoy me a bit. It felt like they only want her healed so she could get them something to eat. Isn't it funny how our minds interpret things, sometimes? Now that I'm older, though, I read that last sentence through the lens of those sick, unproductive weekends.
This poor woman had been sick with a high fever for who knows how long. She was stuck in bed, unable to do anything. Like me, she probably had a list in her head of things that needed to be done to keep her household running smoothly, and it was likely a lot longer than mine since she didn't have all the modern conveniences that I have. When I finally get over a cold, the last thing I want to do is just sit and relax. There is stuff that needs to be done and I can't wait to get at it. I imagine Peter's mother-in-law felt the same way as she got out of that bed.
Of course, when she was healed of her fever, she had company. What's the first thing we do when we have company? Offer food and a drink, right? That's exactly what she did, and I think she was relieved to be finally well enough to serve Jesus and her other visitors. She had been set free of the fever to finally get stuff done again!
So what about us? Whether or not we have been physically sick lately, we were all spiritually sick at one point and Jesus healed us by offering us forgiveness of our sins. By faith in Jesus, we have been healed and set free from sin. I think that, like Peter's mother-in-law, the best response to that healing is to get to work and serve Jesus.
Which begs the question, how do we serve Jesus? Is it only when we're doing church things? I don't think that's right at all. God made each one of us differently, with different talents and abilities. Read 1 Corinthians 12, where Paul compares the church to a body, where every part is needed because all of the parts are different. Not all of us can be preachers. Not all of us can be musicians (which you would know for sure if you ever heard me sing!). And not all of us can be children's church teachers. Some people are excellent business people, or good cooks, or good quilters! God can use all of those skills if we decide in our hearts that we are working for Him.
Colossians 3:17 says, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." 'Whatever'. That's a big word, isn't it? It means everything we do can be done in service to God, if we have the right attitude while we're doing it. And the right attitude is even described in the verse for us...'giving thanks to God the Father through him (Jesus)'. So, because of what Jesus has done for us (offering us spiritual healing and forgiveness of our sins), we are to be thankful to God, and we show that thankfulness by serving Him with everything that we do.
We have been set free to serve Him, just as Peter's mother-in-law was. She served him with food and drink. We serve him with everything we do.