29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. 31 So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. (Mark 1:29-31 NIV)
This story comes so early in Mark’s story of Jesus. He’s called his first disciples, and given his first sermon in the synagogue. He stops at Andrew and Simon’s house. Simon’s (later Peter) mother-in-law is sick with a fever. The brothers tell Jesus about the woman. He takes her hand and she’s healed.
The three verses that tell this story are so compact. Mark doesn’t waste a lot of words, but the details that he includes are so telling. “The fever left her and she began to wait on them.”
We kicked off our Imagine No Malaria campaign at church today, with the goal of saving 2500 lives in the next three years. Through education, bed nets, medicine, draining stagnant water and communication the United Methodist Church along with the United Nations, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are hoping to eradicate deaths from Malaria by 2015. This is such an exciting project to be a part of. To join Jesus in the work of healing fever. To save the lives of children.
I confess that I tend to think of the work of development organizations as benefiting the direct targets of the development work. Yet Simon-Peter’s mother-in-law shows us that Jesus and all of the disciples benefited from the healing of the woman’s fever. Immediately she got up and waited on those in her house. With her new health she uses her resources to bless others.
Who knows what genius, what creativity, what strength, what impact the world loses when each child dies of Malaria. Two years ago, a child died every 30 seconds on the continent from Malaria. Today that has been reduced to one child every 45 seconds. Praise God, but let’s keep slowing that rate down until no child dies from this disease.