Reach Out - Scott Linebrink

“Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ He said. ‘Be clean!’” —Matthew 8:3


In the eighth chapter of Matthew, a leper approaches Jesus and asks to be healed. Jesus, displaying His continuing theme of mercy and grace, reaches out and touches the unclean man, restoring his health.


Something struck me as I discussed this story with a co-worker. Jesus could have healed the leper by simply speaking, but He chose the much more intimate method of personal touch. No one in their right mind would dream of touching a leprous person and exposing themselves to this terrible disease. But it was this simple act of selflessness that showed Jesus’ compassion and willingness to lay down any concern for Himself in order to share His love with someone in need. No doubt this leper got that message, along with renewed health, and was never the same.


The need for safe water is basic for every human. It sustains life and reverses negative health impacts felt by those who have no other choice but to drink bad water. It also has the potential to be the conduit for building relationships and ultimately, sharing the love of Christ with those who seek a reason for hope.


Recently, I visited Cuba on behalf of Water Mission with two other staff engineers, to assess the current water situation and develop a plan for bringing safe water to the island. We visited many communities to test the water and research their water quality and availability. From the outset, each test showed evidence of extremely contaminated water that directly contributed to their many health problems.


At about the sixth stop, we were offered some mango juice (made with community water) by a woman who had invited us into her home. Knowing the condition of the water that we had tested, I was very reluctant to accept her generous offer, but remembered the antibiotics I had waiting for me back in my room, and hoped that they could combat whatever parasite I was probably putting into my body. Not wanting to offend her, I drank the juice and thanked her.


The next morning, I was eager to see the test results from the water I had drank. Amazingly, it was not contaminated! This was the first positive result we had obtained. I was immediately convicted of my doubt in God’s ability to work…and thankful for His provision despite the limitations I placed on Him.


We later learned from one of the Cuban pastors with us, that this simple act of accepting that juice was perhaps the greatest testimony we gave on our trip. Even though I was completely skeptical, God used this situation to touch the lives of these people by allowing us to experience their daily struggle. Putting aside selfishness is what Jesus did in His encounter with the leper, and what He calls us all to do. Once someone experiences God’s kindness and love, they will never be the same.


When we show generosity and love towards others, even in the simplest of acts, we are sharing the love of Christ with them. You may be the only encounter that someone has with Jesus, you may have the resources to touch another person’s life with the Gospel message.


“God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” —Romans 5:8


—Scott Linebrink


Scott Linebrink is a regular contributor of The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.


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