And he arose and left the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they appealed to him on her behalf. And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them. Luke 4:38-39 ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV
Mr. Richards was a handyman, and he really enjoyed his work. He could fix plumbing or electrical wires or just about anything that wasn’t working right. He could also make and build new things, and he could make them both beautiful and strong, so that they would last. He liked going to people’s homes and fixing things that were broken and building new things like shelves or counters or cabinets. Mr. Richards loved his job, and when he got hurt and couldn’t work for awhile, he was very unhappy. He hated sitting around the house waiting to get better and not being able to do his job. When the sink broke in his kitchen and he couldn’t fix that, he was even more unhappy. God had given Mr. Richards the ability to make and fix things, and it made him happy to use that gift. When he was able to go back to work, he felt much better, not only because he was well, but because he could go back to doing what he loved to do.
When Simon (Jesus called him Peter) brought Jesus to his home in Capernaum after they left the synagogue, he found that his mother-in-law was really sick. She had a high fever, and she felt so ill that she was lying down. We don’t know what her name was, but it seems like she really enjoyed having people visit her home and giving them good food to eat and making them comfortable. It made her feel bad to know that Jesus had come to her home and she couldn’t even get up to give him anything. But Peter and his wife and the other people in the house believed that Jesus could help, and so they told him their trouble. Jesus went to the mother-in-law and scolded the fever, and it left her right away. People usually feel weak and tired after they’ve been sick for awhile, but Peter’s mother-in-law jumped right up and started getting some food on the table for her visitors. It made her happy to be able to go right back to doing what she loved–feeding people and helping them have a good time in her home. She had the privilege of treating Jesus as her guest, and it was a joy for her.
God has made all of us to do good work in the world, and when we do the things that God has created us to do, it often makes us very happy. Because of sin, we sometimes get frustrated and angry and have troubles in doing the work the Lord gives us to do, and sometimes we get sick or hurt and can’t work. Jesus came to put right the things that had gone wrong in his creation. He made sick people well, and even more importantly, he died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven. He helps us find joy in whatever work he gives us to do, and he is with us when our job isn’t fun, or when we are sick or hurt. He forgives us for being lazy and not wanting to do our jobs. We can’t work directly for Jesus the way Peter’s mother-in-law did, but whatever we do for others is just like doing it for Jesus, and that makes doing the things we need to do even more of a privilege.
Dear Jesus, thank you for our work, and thank you for our ability to do it. Please give us joy in serving you by helping others. Amen.