As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
– Mark 1:29-31
“I am sure that whenever the Lord helps any of his people out of their temporal or spiritual distresses, they feel at once that they must say, ‘How can I repay the Lord for all the good he has done for me?’ Her serving them proved that the fever was gone – and gone in a way it does not ordinarily go, for fever usually leaves behind it extreme weakness. Jesus’s cures are always complete. If he saves us from the burning fever, he saves us from the weakness that follows it. And when he deals with soul maladies, his cures are equally complete – there are no after effects to the soul as there are in many diseases that affect the body. When the great physician restores the soul, he restores it completely.”
– Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermons
When I think of Peter’s mother-in-law, I think of my wife. Over the years, she might be very ill, but she did not show it. She would get out of bed to serve a meal to her family. We could fend for ourselves, but she felt the need to do it without us asking. In many ways, we never knew how ill she really was.
My wife is an immigrant, the daughter of an immigrant. Of the nine children, the last three were born in the USA. When they moved to El Paso, Texas upon finding sponsorship in the USA, they had no support system that an extended family provides. They just had each other. They had no funds to hire childcare. Since my wife was the second oldest and the only girl among the first five children, she became the designated childcare provider. Before coming to the USA, she was already taking care of the much younger children. Her mother instinct kicked in very early.
When told that her stress level could be resolved by placing herself ahead of others, her reply was that the suggestion went against what Jesus taught us. But other people have the opposite problem. Not my wife and apparently, not Peter’s mother-in-law.
With her recent open-heart surgery, my wife has had to place trust in others to help her do some of the simplest of things. It has been hard for her. Yet, she still gets into trouble trying to do too much. I keep saying that I can do it or at least help, but she must ask. That is simply not in her nature.
Isn’t that a common problem with a lot of us, to not ask?
God is willing to help, but we do not ask. We plow ahead with our eyes toward our goal and we miss God’s blessing along the way.
Peter’s mother-in-law was in the presence of the greatest blessing anyone could imagine. Her gratitude drove her to cooking, cleaning, and waiting on the guests in her home. Is that not what the host is supposed to do? Yet, she could have spent time at the feet of Jesus.
Our lives need balance. We need our time in prayer and Bible study. We need to get the necessary things done around the house, but these things should be shared among the members of the house. But we also need time to relax. And in times of illness, time to heal.
So, in all things, think balance. If someone else does most of the house work – and hopefully you are not too lazy to see it, find a way of helping more, maybe without being asked. If you are the excessive worker– and hopefully you are not too busy to see it, know that your time of resting was well-deserved. Don’t jump at the sound of the next noise. They can often figure out how to take care of it themselves.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.