Matthew 11:1-6

Now when Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and proclaim his message in their cities. When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”

Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.” Matthew 11:1-6

I had to call a plumber last week. Actually, I chose to call a plumber last week. I suppose I could have figured it out myself. Made the requisite three trips to the hardware store. Watched a few YouTube “how to videos.” Bought the one tool that I don’t yet have that I will never use again after this job. But I wasn’t feeling up to it so I just called the plumber.

As I waited for him to arrive I felt a surprising surge of gratitude welling up within me. I am so glad that there are people who decide to become plumbers. The world needs plumbers. When he was done with my little project I gladly gave him some of the money that my congregation gives to me because they are glad that a few people in the world become pastors. That is how God’s economy is designed to work. People exchanging their gifts in service to one another.

When he drove away, off to the next job, I hope he drove away with a sense of satisfaction. There is one more shower controller in the world that works like it is supposed to work because he showed up to fix it.

It isn’t much of a stretch for me to imagine John the Baptizer sitting in prison. I doubt, at any point along the way of his life that he aspired to become a prisoner. Yet it happened. So there he sat, wondering if it was worth it. Did he waste his life? Was he wrong about Jesus?

Who among us haven’t asked similar questions? Am I doing the right thing? Am I valuable in the world or just taking up space?

Jesus answers with a series of word pictures that answer John’s question. Jesus’ answer invites John to imagine his life, not from the point of his present predicament, but from the point of view of all the people he has helped along the way. All of those without hope who now are living into an open future. All the broken ones now leaning into a new kind of wholeness. Jesus doesn’t have to say it – he just points to the people being served and John can see how he was caught up into that work.

Today is Monday. Go out and use your gifts to be helpful. Serve someone today. Just do your part and trust that your effort is part of something much bigger that you can only see through the eyes of faith. The only eyes that matter.

Let us pray: Keep us steadfast, O Lord, in our daily work, our daily witness, our daily service. Help us see how we are connected to the wide sweep of your healing and helping ministry in the world. Draw near to those in prison, that they might be given new eyes to see and hearts to love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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One Response to “Matthew 11:1-6”

  1. Dave Armstrong Says:

    Excellent thoughts! I shared this devotion with other people!

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