By Ann Mainse
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:8, NIV).
What brings you comfort? When our youngest child was little, his “go-to” was an old, worn receiving blanket with bunnies on it, affectionately known as “Blankie.”
Blankie accompanied Eric everywhere. For years, like Linus of Peanuts fame, it held a prominent position on Eric’s shoulder, as if always ready for a sudden snuggle. It was more than Eric’s source of comfort; it was his treasure. And it was what happened with that treasure that finally drove home, for me, a Bible verse I’d heard all my life.
In the 10th chapter of Matthew, as Jesus was speaking to His twelve disciples and instructing them on ministry life, He made this most poignant statement: “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”
Freely you have received, freely give. A few years ago, I was the first in our family to be bitten by the latest winter bug. Feeling extremely queasy, weak, and all around rotten, I very slowly went about my morning routine of preparing breakfast and packing lunches. Holding onto the counter like the side-rail of a ship, I made my way through the swirling kitchen. While I tried to put butter on the dancing piece of toast in front of me, I felt a little tug on my sleeve. It was my drowsy five year-old in his Barney jammies, wearing one slipper (on the wrong foot), and a very unruly head of hair.
As I looked into his big green eyes, I saw more than blanket marks and a sleepy yawn. I saw compassion. While everyone else had been dashing through the kitchen, sputtering lunch orders and producing permission slips, Eric was just standing, watching his Mom. He watched my face turn pale at the sight of the breakfast I was making. He noticed the extra time I took leaning on the fridge door to steady my spinning head.
Our eyes locked. His gaze was thoughtful as he put his chubby little finger in the air and motioned for me to come closer. When I did, Eric did something that meant more to me than any amount of well-wishing cards ever could. As I bent down and put my face even with his, Eric slowly reached up and wrapped his Blankie around my shoulders. Then, with a crackling, sleepy voice, he said, “There Mommy, now you’ll feel better.”
My heart melted as I realized the call on his life, on all of our lives. So many are living not necessarily unwell in body, but sick in spirit. They make their way through life with all the outward signs of a spiritual virus. We have experienced true Peace, divine Comfort through the Spirit of God Himself. How much more should we want to share our treasure with others, to reach out and wrap His love around their shoulders? To freely give what we have so graciously received.
God is prompting us to act. To reach out. To share the warmth of His great love with those in desperate need around the world.
If only we will notice.