This week’s devotions are based on Week 5 of the Series “Fresh Start” – I Meet New People! (WATCH HERE)
Life rolls at a routine pace until it doesn’t.
Plans and expectations are high until life throws a curveball.
Illness interrupts our agenda and if severe enough, completely changes our agenda.
July 4, 2012 was such a day for me. A waterskiing outing turned into an ER visit, multiple eye surgeries and weeks of recovery. My sight has never been the same.
The lasting impact of the injury is real. The lasting impact of the people who stepped up to care for me and my family during that time was priceless. I could do nothing for weeks. My parents and in-laws cared for our two girls during the initial trauma care. My wife and girls made sure I had what I needed, even put eye drops in my my very swollen and gross looking eye. Countless trips to the U of MN eye care center by my wife and volunteers from our church. My associate pastor carried the bulk of ministry for nearly 8 weeks before I could return and do a little. People took time to care.
It’s not always easy to interrupt our healthy schedule to carry for someone on a sick schedule. It takes sacrifice and love for the individual to make that happen. But when we interact and invest in people, it takes time.
Back to Mark 1:30-34. Jesus took the time to care for the sick, the diseased, and those possessed by demons.
30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. 31 So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.
Starting with Simon’s mother-in-law to many in the town that were diseased, Jesus spent time to care for them. With his miraculous power, he healed many in a matter of hours at the door of Simon and Andrew’s home, but after a busy day of teaching in the synagogue, it was still an investment of time to invest in people.
The miracles of healing weren’t the main point. His purpose was still to impact lives with the power of the Gospel. Addressing the physical concerns led to opportunities to address the spiritual concerns. (See Matthew 9:1-8)
The same is true for us. Taking time to help someone with a physical ailment or even a spiritual problem sets up opportunities to share the Gospel. During my injury, many took the opportunity to encourage my faith and relationship with the Lord, even as they prayed for the healing of my injury. I hear stories from members going through ailments of the opportunity they have had to witness to others going through similar treatments or conditions.
It’s easy to look at illness and hardships as interruptions in our schedule…whether we are experiencing them or moved to help care for them. But God may just be using the illness to create opportunities to share Jesus that would not have been there if the schedule interruption hadn’t occurred!
Apply: Notice people around you. Who is God nudging you to pause in your day to care for, encourage, or otherwise take your time to serve?
Prayer: Lord, open my eyes and heart to see and view people who need care, not as burdens or interruptions, but as divine appointments to share your love. AMEN.