a Stephen Ministry introduction from Deacon Rob Lewis
Do you want to get away? Jesus did.
But Jesus can’t get away. A Canaanite woman whose daughter is possessed by a demon accosts him. (Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30)
The story quickly gets complicated as it juxtaposes Jesus’ desire for solitude with the woman’s desperate love for her child. She is relentlessly focused on her daughter’s plight. Nothing else matters to her. She identifies completely with her child. “Lord, son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering.”
If you are a parent with a sick or injured child, your child’s condition distills your identity. All your energy is devoted to helping your child. This particular mother throws herself at Jesus, even as he rebuffs her: she falls down at Jesus feet, cries out (so much so that the disciples also start to cry out to Jesus) and then spars verbally with Jesus. She won’t be denied. She presses in. She doesn’t give up.
Jesus wants to get away. She won’t let him get away. She is a mother who loves her daughter.
And that love inspires her faith. Jesus tests the woman’s faith, to the point of being harsh, and she responds with great love that will not allow her to harden against him.
At the crowning point of her argument, she reveals both her humility and her wisdom, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs fed on the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.” And Jesus reveals the compassion underlying his harshness, ”O Woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.”
A mother’s love has generated her faith, and Jesus’ love has fulfilled her faith. Faith without works is dead, and faith without love is impossible.
Jesus does not create her faith. He responds to it. He commends it. He fulfills it.
Love ignites faith, and faith works through love.
Jesus does not reward faith. He responds to it, wherever and however it manifests. Whatever the need. Stephen Ministers are trained to respond in the same way. If love is prompting you to act in faith and seek help, for yourself or someone else, please consider a Stephen Minister. Contact any one of our Stephen Leaders: Deacon Joy Unger, Deacon Rob Lewis, or Galen Dalrymple.