Today we’re reading Luke 8.
It’s been surprisingly tough to write these devotionals on Luke because I’ve been preaching through these chapters. I’ve already said a lot about all these sections in my messages so I’m struggling not to feel like I’m repeating myself while simultaneously feeling like I’m not saying very much about paragraphs I’ve studied in a lot of detail.
Anyway, that’s my problem, not yours; fortunately, my problem ends tomorrow in Luke 9 when we catch up to and pass the section I’m preaching from currently. For now, though, Luke 8 presents us with one of Jesus’ best known parables (vv. 4-15), some lesser known teachings of Jesus (vv. 16-21) and several miracles (vv. 22-56). The chapter began, though, by listing Jesus’ key financial contributors, some women who traveled with Jesus and the disciples who “were helping to support them out of their own means.” As I indicated in my message on this series, this paragraph gives us insight into how Jesus and the disciples were able to live while devoting themselves full-time to the ministry and it sets a precedent for how ministry is funded that the rest of the New Testament developed for us.
Luke doesn’t say much about what these women did. Verse 2 indicates that they were with him and the Twelve as they traveled “from one town and village to another” and verse 3 says that they “were helping to support them out of their own means.” That last phrase obviously means that they were spending their own money to pay for food and lodging and anything else Jesus and the Twelve needed money for. But why would these women need to travel with Jesus and the disciples? Couldn’t they just send the money by messenger whenever it was needed?
I think they could have sent the money, but I also think they traveled with Jesus and the Twelve to hear Jesus teach just like everyone else who followed him around. I wonder, though, if they also didn’t handle some of the logistics–going ahead of the men to find enough places for them to sleep, buying food and preparing meals as needed. Again the text does not say this, but it makes sense that they would do at least some of this planning and preparation work so as to give Jesus the maximum amount of time to do ministry and to do so without distractions.
This is a small nit to pick in a chapter that has some great material in it but, again, I’ve already sliced all that bread so I’m looking for some crumbs that got away. If you’ve served somewhere behind the scenes–doing sound or lighting or projection or as a Calvary Class helper or preparing meals for families that just had a baby or helping with the Sunday coffee and donuts or giving rides to people to church on Sunday or making copies of material or helping out with office work or cleaning the floors on Saturday night or serving in the chair ministry or making and serving funeral meals or serving in the food pantry or in the prison ministry or doing any other number of tasks, your ministry is important! It may seem unnoticed or feel unimportant but the truth is that it is very important. Servants like you make every ministry possible so if you’ve served in one of these lower-profile places, thank you!
If you could serve in one of these ways but haven’t volunteered yet, would you volunteer this week? Everything we do as a church takes dedicated volunteers so the more volunteers we have, the more ministry we can do. Jesus said that a cup of water given in his name would be rewarded so there are eternal dividends to be reaped if you sow into His work now, even in ways that seem insignificant and small. So, if you’re not serving somewhere yet, one way to put the truth in this chapter into practice is to find your place to serve. It is the Lord’s work so he’s the one you’re serving, just as these women served him in their unseen but important role.