The Upper Room devotional reflection for Friday, October 7, 2022, comes to us from John Keeports of Pennsylvania.
40 A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, "If you choose, you can make me clean." 41 Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, "I do choose. Be made clean!" 42 Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, 44 saying to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them." 45 But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter. Mark 1:40-45 NRSV
During a mission trip to Jamaica, my high-school group ran sports camps and youth groups all day, shared testimonies in front of large gatherings, and did manual labor. But what I most looked forward to each day was visiting patients at the rural infirmary. Seeing the suffering of the patients and the poor condition of the building initially made my heart sink. But there was one man I go to sit with and talk to each day. Eyes lighting up, he would eagerly tell me stories, read me scripture, and encourage me and then allow me to do the same for him. Of all the work we were doing in the area, this relationship became the most meaningful for me.
It is easy to forget the importance of nurturing individual relationships. Jesus shows us a better way at the end of Mark chapter one, when he takes a break from addressing the crowds to heal and interact with one man. The Savior, God incarnate, came to save the world. He fed the multitudes, but he also healed the man with leprosy and the man with the withered hand. If Jesus had time and found value in connecting with the seemingly forgotten individuals around him, we can do the same.
John’s reflection invites us to pause and ponder how we are nurturing our relationship with God, so that we can have a greater impact in our community. When we strengthen and nurture our relationship with God, we develop a depth of faith empowers us to be a bigger blessing to others. I invite you to make the “Thought For The Today” your mantra, sharing the love of God with those who cross your path.
Dear Lord, open our eyes to the lives of people around us. Give us the courage to reach out to people on a personal level. Amen
-- John Keeports
The people of Jamaica
Thought for the day:
Today I will make time to share God’s love with someone new.