MinneNAPolis opened in Minnesota’s Mall of America in November 2005. The object was pretty straightforward. A weary and tired shopper could rent a comfy location to take a nap for as little as seventy-cents per minute. Founded by PowerNap Sleep Centers of Boca Raton, FL, the new store had themed rooms including Asian Mist, Tropical Isle, and Deep Space. The walls had been sound proofed and reinforced to block out the noise of squealing children and overhead announcements.
The company website read, “Escape the pressures of the real world into the pleasures of the ideal one.” “Its not just napping,” according to a press release. “Some guests will want to listen to music, put their feet up, watch the water trickling down the beautiful stone waterfall, breath in the positive –ionization-filtered air, enjoy the full body massager, and just take an enjoyable escape from the fast-paced lifestyle.”
Great name, novel idea, and predictable results: About 6 months later, NPR broke the story—Naps Don’t Fit into the Schedule—closing after having less than nine-nappers a day, in a mall that daily population would rank as the 3rd largest city in Minnesota.
How many of you would love a nap, but you are too busy and aren’t going to spend 70 cents a minute to get one? More than ever before, the demands on our time are exponentially expanding; a quick Google search put the number of current events in the Springfield area alone at 56, from watching a basketball game to making your own beer. In our sermon series Mark My Words, we’ve seen Jesus finally step onto the public platform, rally together a band of followers—giving a simple message, an urgent call, and highlight his surpassing authority. It is with the word about Jesus spreading, the crowds increasing, and the pressure mounting, that we see Jesus in action, highlighting for us how to live lives of faith in a wild world! In our text from Mark 1:29-45 we will see the purpose of his power, source of his strength and the reach of his love!
As Jesus moves from the Synagogue to Simon and Andrew’s house, we find that instead of a nap after service, Jesus continues his work revealing the purpose…
Healed to Help (Mark 1:29-31) 29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon’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.
In Simon’s mother-in-law, we see the purpose behind Jesus power: healed to help others. Blessed to be a blessing, and saved to serve others. Ministry isn’t something reserved for the hyper-religious, the super-pious, the monk in his monastery, but instead is set free and revealed through the healed helping the hurting! Jesus makes ministry applicable, because we are allowed to reach out to people like us, struggling with what ailed us, with his healing power. His promise to faithfully work to bring good in all things starts to become a reality! From a darkened room enduring sexual abuse; the soul-sucking silence and shame– God allows survivors to minister pulling woman and men of all ages back into the light. When the loss seems to rip away the stability, God provides a Rock as foundation—a grief group and community, from the seemingly irreversible pain of a poor decision, to the heart of redemption, God opens the door, from an AA or NA sponsor who use to be a AA or NA student.
Being healed to help takes us from focusing on what God can do for us and starts focusing in on the work that Jesus desires to do in us! It was a work that allowed an older woman to stand up from her chair, walk to the podium, and begin to speak. She stood in front of nearly 500 people at the Pregnancy Resource Center’s Annual Banquet for Life. Her story stood out from the pictures of smiling babies and success stories, she admitted to a room of strangers that she had gone through in a moment of pain and uncertainty with 2 abortions. Nearly 40 years later, she still struggled to get the words out, clearly emotional, but her story didn’t end with death, it moved to new life. The depression and guilt drove her to find answers, and finally it was in pages of Scripture she found a Savior greater than her greatest sin and scarlet letter. Her story and recovery were powerful, but what grabbed me was that she was standing on the stage not for herself, but to support DEEPER STILL Retreat Center, she had been hurt, she had been healed—Jesus Touched Her!, and now she was willing to let the world see her worst moment so she could get others through their worst moment!
Max Lucado had a great line in his book on prayer, some people wrestle with the seemingly unanswered prayers, but he pushed back saying, “God answers some prayed instantly, others gradually, but all prayers ultimately.” He does so because sometimes we only learn through the struggles, but oftentimes, in our struggles we can minister to the struggling world. God doesn’t whisk us away from the world; he prepares us to be part of changing the world. Healed to Help! Ministry, service, sharing Christ isn’t meant to be an obligation, but an eternal healing that makes sense of earthly hurting.