“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13 NLT
Ten men suffered from leprosy, a nerve-deadening, skin-devouring disease. Their lives were hellish as they were forced to live apart from their families for fear of infecting them too. They faced the possibility of losing first their fingers and toes, then possibly other parts of their bodies from infections, burns or other problems.
But one day, Jesus came walking down the road. They saw him and cried out to him, hoping against hope that he would perform a miracle for them, freeing them from their debilitating disease.
Jesus had compassion on them and healed them, freeing them to live normal lives. They could go back to their families, their work, their houses and live happy, productive lives again. The ten men went on their way, excited to show the priests they had been healed and resume normalcy.
The Bible doesn’t tell us what happened to the men later. But if I were to write an ending to their stories, I think I’d portray the 9 men returning home to their families. Sure, they talked about the miracle at dinner parties and gave God the glory. They’d share about what it felt like to be touched by Jesus. Maybe one of them would write a book about it which would become a best seller.
But what about the one who returned to thank Jesus? Afterhis second encounter with Christ, I imagine he went on to become a humanitarian – one who cared about other lepers. Perhaps he gave up all he had to buy food and seek medical care for these outcasts because he had once been there. He wanted them to know the same hope in Christ that he had experienced. Maybe he even went to live with them in spite of the risksto help in any way he could.
Think about a time when Christ set you free from a major crisis in your life. Did you get all excited, then go back to life as usual, perhaps sharing your testimony on occasion? Or did you suddenly become aware of all those around you who suffered from similar problems?
We may not like to think about it – but Christ sets us free from the suffering and crises we face to equip us with the compassion and knowledge we need to help others in similar situations. We may have experienced freedom from our suffering, but we’re not truly free until we bring them His hope with a heart of love.
Father, give me the heart of a servant. Amen.