By Tamra Dalbey
The way in which Jesus heals the leper is one of my favorite accounts in the gospels. “If you are willing, you can make me clean,” pleaded the disfigured, shunned man.
“Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, I am willing; be cleansed.” (Mark 1:40-41).
He could have just spoke the leper’s healing into existence. Yet here we see Him physically touching the diseased and contagious leper. A very intentional move on His part. His compassion extends far beyond physical healing. He touches our soul. He moves us with His kindness. He meets us right where we are.
I know that mine is not the only home plagued with disease: the deadly disease of sin. It doesn’t matter who you are, we are all put here on this earth as sinners among sinners. But we have a wonderful opportunity to be set apart – to become more like Him. More like Love. As we adopt His manner of love and compassion and apply it to the people closest to us, the fruit will come. Marriages will transform and relationships begin to look different. So how do we accomplish this at home among those we know best? Isn’t home the place we so often struggle the most to stay on our best behavior (I speak from experience)?
The only real starting point of being an effective “minister” in my house and in the lives of those closest to me, is to model Jesus as best I can. So how did the Lord relate to people during His time here on earth?
1) Jesus is a people person. Not necessarily in the way we think of that term. He is invested in people… invested in showing kindness, forgiveness, love, compassion, and grace. On mission to glorify the Father, we are the very reason Jesus left heaven to come to this world. Before Christ’s salvation, each one of us was stuck in our self-serving ways. He came to break the cycle and show us a new way, a new mission: others.
Philippians 2:3-4 states, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” If we forget to hold that others–centered mentality, then we really do miss the whole thing entirely.
2) Jesus is also a servant. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. He served all of mankind when he died so that we might have life. I am called to be a servant to my children, my spouse. Not just to serve them merely to meet their needs, but to apply that same tender touch that Jesus had for the Leper. Compassion. Grace.
3) At the same time Jesus was also a minister of truth. We are then also called to have a voice. To offer instruction, correction and ultimately to tell of the Way, the Truth and the Life. It isn’t love if you aren’t willing to share reality and truth with them. I’m so thankful that God cares about us enough to chasten us when needed.
To be “on mission” in my house has meant a number of things. Primarily, it has meant a whole lot of death… death to self. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)
“I’m too tired for them”. “Why can’t they figure it out already?” These thoughts have to die. Instead I must monitor my response when I’m irritated or frazzled. Being quick to forgive those close to me models Christ’s forgiveness.
Availability is another important aspect of my mission at home. I love how Jesus was available to people. He used His time to be with people. And He wasn’t only available to the socially elite either. He made arguably the most time for the rejects of society, those who needed a “hospital”- a Savior. I can’t imagine this was always the easiest thing to do. Sin–filled people are hard to be around. Longsuffering endured. (Sound familiar yet, mom of the defiant toddler?!)
Here is our chance! Mom: to parent with grace; Grandma: to share how the Lord has been faithful; Co–worker: to tell of salvation that is rich and free; Friend: to encourage the downcast. All these things are contrary to worship of self. Make yourself available to people who need it the most. Remember you serve a valuable role to those the Lord has placed in your life. You might be the only one they will open up to. Be there for people so you can point them to Christ.
Worship is also essential to our mission. We have learned how helpful it is to have worship music playing almost always in our home. It makes a great difference in my attitude and energy level when I am listening to/singing out His promises. I get to tarry in the throne room of God. I find it hard to complain or be impatient while singing “…it is well with my soul.” My children also get to hear the Word in song.
Finally, offer encouragement! Build up. Speak words of affirmation. Christ encourages us when we are weary, He gives rest. His burden is light. Promote that rest as you find ways to help others see their trials through the lens of eternity. He who is forgiven much loves much (Luke 7:47). May we always be reminded that He has saved us from the fires of Hell (of which we deserve) and has given us a room in His own house in Heaven (that we could never afford). This remembrance should stir in us a larger capacity of forgiveness, grace, and compassion for others.
You’ve heard the saying “God doesn’t call the qualified… he qualifies the called.” This was certainly true of the Disciples. Those common fishermen, tax collectors, and doubters went on to change the world for the Kingdom. This is also true for us. There is a power, not in us, but through Christ in us, that enables us to do mighty things. The weak can tap into Strength (2 Cor. 12:9). The seemingly impossible task of being an effective witness in my home just got less impossible. Thank you God of all Hope!