Saved To Serve

Matthew 8:14-17

14 When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. 15 But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for him.16 That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and he healed all the sick. 17 This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said, “He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases.”

INTRODUCTION

After a busy day, Jesus goes home with Peter and finds his mother-in-law sick with a fever. Jesus simply touches her and the fever leaves immediately. When the fever left, she felt fine and she got up and fixed supper for Jesus. Thus she was saved to serve or healed to help, however you want to look at it.

If we go back to Genesis and the creation of man we discover that God gave Adam dominion over all creatures and everything in the garden. Adam was to rule over God’s creation within the borders of Eden and God gave him the authority to do it. Of course, Adam transgressed and lost his authority and dominion. The authority Adam lost we see in Jesus. Everyone was impressed with Jesus authority. He could speak to diease or demons and they would flee. But God not only gave Adam dominion, he gave him responsibility. Adam was to [1] rule over and [2] to care for. Genesis 2:15… The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. God made Adam the care taker of Eden. Adam was God’s steward or servant. The earth never belonged to Adam but God did entrust everything in the vicinity of Eden to his care. He had all the timber rights, mineral rights, water rights–All the gold was his and so was the silver. No man ever had more to manage than Adam when it comes to material wealth.

The fall gave man a bad concussion. It messed up the way we think. We are very anxious to get back what we lost but we go about it in the wrong way. Adam was both ruler with dominion and servant with instructions. Now the first step in our recovery is to submit to the authority of Christ as LORD and learn from and obey His instructions. That is basically our assignment here and now. In this life we are to be stewards [managers] of His resources and servants. We are destined to a throne but that comes later. Our problem is that we don’t like the servant hood role, we want to go straight into ruling. Everyone wants to be his own king or in the case of the ladies, queen.

We resist coming under Christ authority and allowing Him to make decisions for us. We want to be in charge and we are convinced that we are capable. Acknowledging Christ as LORD is much more difficult for us than acknowledging Him as Savior. As our SAVIOR He died for our sins and secured our forgiveness but as our LORD He commands our daily life. So we were created to serve in the beginning and when Christ redeemed us, He recreated us to serve…2 Corinthians 5:17…Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Jesus not only healed Peter’s mother-in-law, He gave her a new purpose for living which was to serve HIM. He does not save us to sit, He saves us to serve.

Marion Mill was born into an aristocratic family in Hungary. Her first spoon was actually pure gold. She was raised in all the comforts of extravagant wealth. When she became of age, her parents sent her to school in Vienna where she became an actress, and there she met and fell in love with a young medical student named Otto.  They married and went to live in Hollywood, CA. There, as they “set up house,” he began to dabble in movies just as a hobby. He became so interested in movies that he gave up his medical practice and an made a career out of directing movies. Marion’s beauty, wit, and irresistible charm brought her everything a woman desires. In Europe, New York and Hollywood she became a celebrity but she could not handle the fast lane and got into drugs and numerous affairs. Her life and lifestyle became so sordid, even for Hollywood, that Otto divorced Marion. In a state of depression she moved back to Vienna. There at a party she met another doctor, named Albert Schweitzer who was on leave from his hospital in Lambarene, Africa.

She was so fascinated by Schweitzer, that she asked him if she could talk to him alone. He met with her weekly for the next six months. As he prepared to return to Africa, she begged him to let her go with him. Schweitzer surprised everyone by agreeing. Marion, the young princess, born in a palace, educated at Vienna, successful in Hollywood and formerly married to Otto Preminger the famous movie director, went to a little village in Lambarene, Africa, and spent the rest of her life emptying bed pans and tearing up sheets to make bandages for putrid sores on the poverty-stricken nationals.

In her autobiography she wrote, “All I wanted was everything. Dr. Schweitzer convinced me that there are two kinds of people; those who are helpers and those who are non-helpers. I thank God that He allowed me to become a helper. It was in helping others that I found everything.”

I agree with Schweitzer: there are two kinds of people, the helpers and non-helpers, the servers and the setters, the participators and the spectators and the happy and the unhappy…the fulfilled and the unfulfilled. Peter’s mother-in-law join the ranks of the helpers. In all my years [43] of ministry; I have never met a server that was not happy and I’ve never met a sitter that was not a complainer. When we reject Jesus call to serve, we become deeply introverted and so preoccupied with our self that it is impossible for us to think of anyone else and this leads to misery of the worst sort.

Many preachers have an unhappy retirement. Over the years they become addicted to being needed and they also enjoy the honors that goes with the job. When they retire, they have a lot of time on their hands and in some cases very few phone calls in regards to preaching assignments. The pastor who baptized me back in 1968 was an unusual man. Unfortunately I did not realize this until just a few years ago. He was never a great preacher. I cannot remember one sermon or even one point that he made and I heard him preach many times He was a very good pastor. He loved to tell stories and he had a great memory but he had trouble relating his stories to any specific point. He just told story after story at random and he lost track of time. Needless to say, when he retired, he got very few opportunities to preach but no man enjoyed retirement more than he. He was built like St. Nick and often played the part at parties and the nursing home. He didn’t need a pillow under his shirt, he had the big belly and everything but what I appreciated about him most was his jolly attitude. I saw one of his beautiful daughters just weeks ago and I told how much I appreciated her father’s spirit and attitude. How did he remain so jolly? Rarely did anyone invite him to preach so what was his secret. He got involved in a nursing home ministry and was faithful to that humble ministry for the last 20 years of his life. He took a job that no other preacher wanted. He was devoted to helping others and he did it until the day he collapsed. He could have sat home and felt sorrow for himself as so many seniors do but he would have not part in that: he had to be helping someone else and that was the key to his jolly attitude.

I’m telling you folks, Jesus doesn’t save us to sit, He saved us to serve. He doesn’t heal us to hinder but He heals us to help. Two kinds of people: helpers and non-helpers, which are you?

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