“Everyone Is Looking for You”:
God Can Help You Meet Life’s Many Demands
February 8, 2009
The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor
Montgomery United Methodist Church
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, good morning! Our topic today is “‘Everyone Is Looking for You’: God Can Help You Meet Life’s Many Demands.” I’d like to talk with those of you today especially who feel that you are surrounded by multiple demands; that there just aren’t enough hours in the day; that there are more requests than there is time to fulfill them. If you can identify with that, the Gospel has wonderful news to share with you this morning.
Perhaps you’re the kind of person that knows that your job has demands upon you. Perhaps your children are saying, “Mom, I need this.” “Dad, I need that.” Maybe your friends are saying, “I need your time; I need your attention.” Maybe you need to do a lot of chauffeuring around and at the same time cook supper. Maybe you need to do a lot of planning and business at the same time. Maybe you’re the kind of person who has all kinds of homework to do; wouldn’t it be great if there were time to play, as well?
If you can identify with any of those, you know what it means to have multiple demands. And the Gospel has some good news for you. I thought today we’d take that Gospel in hand and enjoy it together. Let’s enjoy the word of God in Mark 1:29-39:
“As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.”
Now, who are “they”? They are the fellows who were mentioned and Jesus. They were at synagogue. Jesus was preaching. It was a big day at church, and they were tired. They went to the home of Simon and Andrew. What do you think they wanted? It was after church, probably a long service. Jesus had been preaching. The whole gang got together. They went over to Simon and Andrew’s house. Simon’s mother-in-law was probably a very good cook. So what do you think they wanted? Food! Lunch! They were talking about what had happened at the service and how wonderfully things had gone, and they went to celebrate. But when they got to the house, what did they find there? Let’s find out.
“Now Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever….”
No lunch. So what did they do? They did the right thing. They went and told Jesus. And look at this beautiful thing that the Savior did.
“He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up.”
Oh, don’t let that sentence go by. Savor it, won’t you? See Jesus’s kind face coming over to her and offering His hand. There was healing in that hand, and there was power in that hand, and there was love in that hand. She took that hand, and He helped her up. And she was restored in mind and body and spirit. Oh, don’t let that sentence go by! Jesus can do it for you, even as He did it for her. Just call out His name, and He will be there. Maybe you need His healing hand to lift you up. Maybe you need His comforting touch. Maybe you’re the exhausted one. Maybe you’ve been pouring yourself out to the point of fever, and you need more help than any earthly hand can give. Jesus’s hand is there to touch and to lift up.
She got up, and she was well; she was healed, and she was restored. She was invigorated. And then what happened?
… “she began to serve them.”
She got up, and she was doing. She didn’t say, “Oh, Jesus, thank You for the healing. I think I better take a little nap. It’s a good day to rest.” No, she said, “Jesus, thank You for the healing. Let me do something. Let me have a job. Let me produce. Let me do the best that I can in response to Your love.” Let’s see what happened then.
“That evening, at sundown, they” – people who had heard about Jesus’s healing power – “brought to Him all who were sick or possessed with demons.”
What a sight! Now, in this ostensibly peaceful village, this nice little quiet home, all of a sudden there were all these people. It was like New Year’s Eve at the hospital emergency room. So many people were coming in – people who were sick, people who had given up hope, people who were possessed by demons, which means there was probably a lot of emotional upset, probably a lot of shouting going on – all descending on this little house because they’d heard that Jesus was there.
But I’ll bet Simon’s mother-in-law was cooking up a storm and feeding all these people as they waited for the healing touch. And Jesus was there. Now look what happens in verse 33:
“And the whole city was gathered around the door.”
Can you imagine? That means a whole lot of people, a whole lot of healing to do, a whole lot of people who need Jesus. We need Him, too. What happened then?
“And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.”
That simply means that He was not ready to announce that He was the Messiah just yet. So, what happens next? Can you identify with this?
“In the morning, while it was still very dark” – not just dark, not just before dawn, but very dark, that darkest hour of the night. Are you familiar with it? Are you familiar with it literally? Are you familiar with it emotionally? In that darkest hour, what did Jesus do?
“…He got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.”
There He did something He loved to do! He got in touch with the heavenly Father. He was still in that dark, sweet hour when He could be alone with God and listen for the voice of the Creator saying, “Yes, yes, yes! You are my beloved child in whom I am well-pleased. I am well-pleased with you.” And Jesus needed to hear that to keep His work going and to keep His vision vital. This was the sweetest hour of prayer for Him. This is the moment He always sought out.
Do you have moments like that? Do you have moments that are sweet for you, moments that you seek out in order to restore your soul? That’s what Jesus did. And then what happened? Let’s check it out.
“And Simon and his companions looked about for him.” Is that right? “Simon and his companions mildly searched for him.” Is that right? No! What did they do?
“And Simon and his companions hunted for him.”
Do you believe that choice of words? That’s pretty severe, don’t you think? If I were the Bible translator, I might have been tempted to translate it as “searched for.” But that’s not what they did. “Hunted” – that’s very aggressive searching. They hunted for Him in the dark; they hunted for Him with a fervor that would not let Him go. And when they finally found Him in that deserted place, what did they say?
“Everyone is searching for you.”
Say it out loud. “Everyone is searching for you.”Can you identify with this? “Jesus, you can’t be alone. Everyone is searching for you. Everybody needs you.”
That’s the first point I want to stress this morning. If you feel overwhelmed, if you feel like you’re on overload, if you feel like everyone is looking for you, you have a friend in Jesus. You are in good company. Everybody was looking for Jesus, too. He was overwhelmed, too. Jesus understands your sense of overload, of being overwhelmed, of everyone looking for your time. So, next time you feel overwhelmed, the next time you feel as if everyone is looking for you, just think to yourself, you’ve got a friend in Jesus. He knew what it was like to feel like this.
Then what happened? Did He say, “Please, may I have some time to myself?” Did He say, “I can’t stand this anymore”? No, He didn’t. What did He say?
“He answered, ‘Let us go….’”
Let’s up and be doing. And that’s the second thing that we can learn from Jesus. When we are called to work, friends, let’s work with all our might. When we are called to do a task, let’s do it gladly. When we hear the call that everyone is looking for us, let’s say “Good! I’m useful. Somebody needs me.” My family needs me – to work, to put food on the table. My boss needs me to do an important job. If you’re doing taxes, you can say, “My government needs me to help support it.” I’m needed. I’m glad to be living in a country as great as America. To be needed is a good thing. Jesus was needed, and so are you.
He was interrupted at prayer. It reminds me of a cartoon I thought was pretty funny. And in telling you this, I assure you this does not happen in this church. It was a cartoon of a pastor’s study. Through the open door you can see that the pastor is kneeling on the floor beside his desk, with his hands folded and his head bowed. Into the office bursts, clearly, the church secretary. The caption reads, “Oh, good, you’re not busy.” I love that. It doesn’t happen here. But you know that feeling.
Jesus’s response is “Let’s up and be doing. Let us go heal these folks and then go on to the other villages, because that’s what I’m called to do. That’s where they need me.” And you are needed, too. So when we work, let’s work with all our might. Let’s work as to the Lord. Let’s work with vigor and enthusiasm, knowing that we are important to God and to others.
“And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message….”
Last point: let’s also imitate Jesus in this: every day, do something you love. What do you love to do? Close your eyes for a second and think about it, won’t you? Do you love to read? Do you love to play the piano? Do you love to paint? Do you love to observe God in nature? Do you love to watch birds? Every day, allow yourself to do something you love to do. Allow yourself to pray. That’s what Jesus loved to do. And when you do the thing you love to do, make it into a prayer, won’t you?
Eric Liddell was a Scotsman who won the Olympics in 1924. There was a movie made about him, my favorite movie of all time, called Chariots of Fire. Eric Liddell was from a family of missionaries who was very concerned that he go back to China as a missionary, too. His sister was particularly adamant about it, and she went to him one day and said, “Eric, you’re running so much, you’re forgetting about the One who made you.” Eric said, “Oh, Sis, I’ll go back to the mission field, but let me do this, because when God made me – I’ve not forgotten about Him – when God made me, He made me fast. And when I run, I feel His joy.”
How about you? When you do the things you love, don’t you feel God’s joy? Turn it into a prayer. I took a moment like this on Wednesday morning. I looked out the window at the rising sun. I saw the most magnificent sight! Every branch of every tree and every bush was outlined with snow. The golden and orange sun that was rising in the distance spread its glitter and sparkle upon the snow and branches. There was no wind to disturb it, and it was cold enough for it to stay for a while.
I took my camera, and I went up to a place on the road over Bunker Hill, coming from Griggstown and heading toward Route 27. It is an amazing sight in every season. The tall tree branches cascade over the road, forming a natural arch. In the summer, it is a canopy of cool green. I call it the "Green Cathedral", and it always calms me down and inspires me to prayer when I go through. In the autumn, it is ablaze with sun-sparkled red and orange and yellow. On this incredible, snow covered winter's day, every branch sparkled with the dazzling brightness of snow highlighted against the crystal blue sky. It was a sight that was breathtaking, inspiring an awareness of the awesome majesty and artistry of God. It was a cathedral of snow. I walked in those woods and took pictures, and I sang in my heart, “O God, how great thou art!” It was a prayer to the master artistry of God.
Take something you love to do and make it into a prayer this week, won’t you? Be sure to do something you love every day.
And so, my friends, do this, this week, won’t you? Know that you have something in common with Jesus. Remember that you are important. And do something you love. And you will be walking in the steps of the Master.
God loves you. I do, too. Have a wonderful week. Amen.
© 2009 Anthony J. Godlefski