Mike Novotny - Keep Doing Hard Things
Has someone that you know that isn't a Christian, ever wondered why you do the things you do? Like, maybe you go to church when they sleep in, and they kind of feel bad for you. Or you give some of your money or volunteer your time to help a ministry, and they think that you could have so much more. Or you're not doing this thing that they're doing which is pretty fun in the moment, and they kind of feel like your life is pathetic. If you've ever felt that way, I want to tell you a story that happened right here, in the town of Capernaum.
Now, I'm standing in the archeological ruins of the town where Jesus did his ministry, the place where he moved after Nazareth. And there's a little story that happened here in Capernaum that reminds me why we, as Christians, do what we do. It comes from Matthew, chapter 8, and here's what it said, "When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter's mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him."
I love that little line. Here she is, sick, Jesus comes to this very place, lays his hand on her and, like that, she's better. And what does she do? "She got up and began to wait on him". He didn't have to demand it, he didn't have to say, "If you don't, you're going to go to hell". She did it, she wanted to.
This, in theology, is what we call gospel motivation. That we Christians are motivated to do things, even hard things, sacrificial things, because we know what Jesus has done for us first. Maybe he hasn't healed every physical sickness, but he's healed our sin, he's erased our shame, he's given us hope of eternal life. And because he's given us so much, we love to serve him. Even when it's hard.
So, I understand why some other people might not understand. But if you're a follower of Jesus, know that you have the greatest motivation in the world. As Jesus friend, John, later put it, "We love. We serve, we give, we love, because he first loved us". And someday in heaven when you meet Peter's mother-in-law, she would tell you the same thing. It's worth waiting on Jesus when he gives you a reason to worship him. That's the powerful lesson of gospel motivation that we learn right here in the town of Capernaum.