The centurion said to Jesus, “Sir, do not trouble yourself. I am not
worthy to have you enter my house … I, too, am a man who
knows the meaning of an order … so just give the word and my
servant will be cured.” Luke 7:2-10
Some people find Jesus by acts of hospitality; others by being humble
before God; still others by gift-giving or by intensifying their life of prayer. This soldier, a master sergeant of 100 men, received his Christmas grace because he did his job well. He knew what it meant to take orders and to give them. He was responsible and careful and cooperative. So he applied his work ethic to Jesus’. He reasoned that if he could expect obedience because of his authority, Jesus could expect the same, even from creation. At Jesus’ command, the soldier reasoned, even disease will promptly leave the afflicted servant. Jesus praised the man for his reasoning and answered his prayers. But none of it would have happened unless he was a good soldier, a good worker, first of all.
THE CENTURION SPEAKS TO YOU
“Be grateful for the power of prayer that can come to you from your ordinary duties in life. Do your work as well as you can. Learn to take orders from your supervisors, teachers, and coaches; and learn to give orders, trusting that others will be as responsible as you are. Then pray, knowing that Jesus in his own time will be as good as you are when you are at your best… only he will be better!”
Jesus, let me realize the dignity of my work. I can do things well. I can be trusted. And I can trust others. Both aspects of responsibility make the work succeed. It is the same with you; God spoke, and you were the words he spoke. And you came to us, obedient to your Father’s plan of love. Then you spoke your healing words, and all things unhealthy were restored. You have given hope to all creation. You are the heart of Christmas love. Amen.