The Lord in the Home

"And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell Him of her. And He came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered to them" (Mark 1:29-31).

There are some who would confine the Lord to the Sunday services, and when they are over, they would lock the door of their place of worship, as they call it, and would shut Him inside and live the rest of the week without any reference to Him. But I venture to say that if all they know about the Lord is confined to one day a week they don't know Him at all, and further, those who really know Him would say that if they could only know Him in the Sunday services He would be of little more value to them than are the gods of the heathen to their devotees. They need Him every day. Moreover, the Lord will not be confined to one day a week, or to what we might term the religious side in our lives. He loves us too well for that, and He delights to be with us in our homes and to mingle with us in the joys and sorrows of our everyday life. I proclaim an every-day Saviour, a domestic Saviour, who understands domestic difficulties and knows how to meet them by His own power and grace.

"Forthwith He went into the house of Simon" — straight from the synagogue into the house. I am sure that Simon asked Him to go with him, but I am equally sure that He made Simon feel that it was the one thing He desired to do. And there was trouble in Simon's house, his wife's mother lay sick of a fever and the whole house was disordered. What was it that had brought that fever on her? Let us reverently read something into the story that may not be out of place, and may the lesson help us all. Not long before this, Simon had given up a lucrative calling. He had abandoned boat and nets and fishes to follow the Lord, and Simon's wife's mother saw very plainly that the Lord had nothing, not even a home; He was a poor man without a place to lay His head, and if Simon followed Him, would he not be homeless too? It seemed a foolish thing that Simon had done, and his mother-in-law, practical body that she was, began to wonder and to worry about her daughter. And Simon was so headstrong a man, it was no use talking to him. The mother-in-law would have to shoulder the whole burden, so she supposed, and see that her daughter and the children did not want. And so she set to planning through sleepless nights, and the more she planned the more anxious she became, and anxiety deepened into continual worry until she lay fevered, sick and helpless. It was her love for those she dearly loved that brought it all about, and she did not understand that the more she worried about them, the less she was able to help them. May that not have been the cause of the fever? Anyhow, whether that was the cause of it or not, there it was to the grief of them all.

We are going to travel from Simon's house to yours and see if the story does not touch you somewhere. Somehow things are askew with you and you have worried and planned about them but your worry has not straightened them out, and the more you have considered your difficulties the more they have seemed to be in a hopeless tangle, until you are indeed sick of a fever, and you are adding by your fevered spirit to the difficulties that you have wanted to solve, and to the burdens that you have longed to lift from the shoulders of others. It will be well for you to face the question, not of these difficulties first, but of your own condition, and the worried and perplexed state of your heart. But let us return to Simon's house. The Lord made Himself at home there, and they, the household, became so conscious of His sympathetic interest in them, that they tell Him of the sick woman.

How wonderful is this to us, especially when we remember who He was, the High and Holy One, that inhabiteth eternity, and before whom the hosts in heaven bow down in worship, yet Simon's family was not afraid of Him, to them He was so gracious, so accessible, that they could bring their trouble to Him, talk to Him about it. He is the same today, He invites our confidences and wants us to let Him into our homes and lives. I heard of someone the other day who had burdens, personal and otherwise, and who longed for someone to whom he could tell them, but knew no one whom he could trust. Simon's family did not feel like that about Jesus, nor need we feel like that about Him.

Mark's laconic style makes it all very vivid. "Anon they tell Him of her. And He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up." He passed at once into that inner chamber and the moanings of the sick woman ceased as He took her hand, her pulse steadied, her temperature slid down to normal, she was instantly calmed. One touch of that sympathetic but almighty hand changed everything. Contact with Jesus assuaged the fever, and He lifted her up. He did not leave her lying in a state of helplessness, there was no period of convalescence. She did not need to know Him a long time before she could trust Him wholly about her daughter and the family and every other trouble. His touch, His look, were enough, she had nothing to fear if He was near, and she stands up — the fever gone, and she ministers to them. What a change! What a Saviour is our Lord!

I know the sort of woman she was, nothing gave her greater pleasure than to be serving those whom she loved; but the fever had stricken her down, she could do nothing to help them and had become a burden to those she would have served. But now she is free again, her heart can express itself in her activities, she can resume her normal life and serve the household that she loved, and she must have done it as she had never done it before. Her experience of her own weakness in the fever, and the strength that Jesus had imparted to her by His touch had made her wholly new in the way she served. His touch had transmuted the poor metal of her love into calm unselfish, unostentatious service.

Again let us travel from Simon's house to yours, and instead of thinking of his mother-in-law, think of you. It is the contact with Jesus you need. His touch — "I will give you rest," He says, "Ye shall find rest to your souls." How wonderful it will be for you when you do find this rest! What a priceless treasure it is! Then will it be said of you, "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." Then will you be a help and not a hindrance in your home, a glad servant of others' need, and the service you render will be the service of love, love first to the Lord, and then to others.

Now let us bring to the Lord our burdens and cares. Our homes may be His kingdom. The world's door is a closed door, bolted and barred against Him, but we may open the doors of our homes to Him and constrain Him to come in, and when in answer to our request He becomes our Guest, we may tell Him all, and let Him take charge of things, our Guest, but also our Lord. There is no detail too small for His grace and no trouble too great for His power. It makes a difference when the father and mother bend their knees in secret before Him, and it increases the blessing when the family is drawn into the daily habit of prayer. If He is asked and allowed to handle things, peace and order and contentment will be the result, and the humblest home will be transformed into a royal dwelling if the Lord is there.