Outbreaks & Contagions

Read: Leviticus 13-15

I admit that I have always found Leviticus puzzling and dull to read through in the Bible. The law laid out isn’t a fun read to me. I just kind of bear it. This year as I walked through Leviticus, I saw it from a different perspective.

In Leviticus 13-15, for example, we read about what to do in order to be made clean before God due to illness (which isn’t an intentional “sin”). Being sick as I read it, this stuck out to me. I didn’t get sick on purpose, after all. Like all good germophobes, I did all I could to avoid sickness. In Levitical times, not only was the sick person declared unclean, anything that touched the sickness was also declared unclean. When the sickness had finally run it’s course, the unclean one(s) were instructed to make a sin offering before they could be right before God again.

Along the same vein, God had a lot to say about mold, mildew and fungus. There were rules upon rules of what to do and not to do when it came to the likes of mold, mildew, and fungus – on leather, on fabric, on houses. And there was a ritual that had to be observed before something that had been infected was declared clean again. Not the most engaging and riveting read, I know, but stick with me because…

As I continued reading, I began to see Leviticus less as the rule book I had always viewed it and more as a visual of how infectious sin is by demonstrating how quickly and easily it can transfer to someone or something else – like illness, like mold, like mildew, like fungus! And God provided this visual at a very strategic time in His children’s history. He was in the process of giving His kids the land He had promised their forefathers; a land flowing with milk and honey, yes, but also infected with idolatry and every form of sin known to man.

It was as if God was saying, As you take possession of this land I promised you, be careful. Sin is contagious – like illnesses. Like mold and mildew. Like fungus. And while you’re cleaning the place of this stuff, I don’t want you to become i n f e c t e d by it.

Now, read Matthew 27.

Thought to Ponder

How does the Matthew 27 text correlate to the reading in Leviticus?

I am embracing feedback this year, so please share yours in the comments – the good, the bad, the indifferent! I’d love to hear your perspective.

The Heart of a Servant – a guest post by Amanda Erickson


I was so little my daddy had to pull a chair up to the kitchen sink so I could stand on it, tippy-toed, to help wash the dishes. Actually, I’m pretty sure he had me rinsing dishes, as my untrained eye and the desire to rush through this chore almost surely would have resulted in not very clean dishes. Daddy was washing, I was rinsing.

Some of my earliest memories of family holidays are of my Daddy drawing my little brother and me to himself and telling us it was time to clean our Grandma’s kitchen. Not all that surprising was how resistant my brother and I were to this idea – downright resentful some times! But my dad, well, he always did it with a cheerful spirit, often whistling or humming a tune while cleaning up the holiday mess.

There are recurring moments that sprinkle through my childhood memories. Daddy washing up dishes at Grandma’s house. Daddy clearing people’s plates from the table at church functions so they could keep right on talking. Daddy staying until the lights were turned out and doors locked so he could help clean up after a party or event.

“Serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13

Over the past 2 1/2 years I’ve been on the receiving end of my dad’s selfless service. Throughout two tough pregnancies and having new little ones of my own, my dad has stepped in to serve me in ways I never knew I needed. During my pregnancies he’d call on his way home from work (he drives by my house to go to and from work) to see if I needed anything on his way by. Whether it was delivering pregnancy cravings or taking out a mostly empty trash bag because super pregnancy nose was in full swing, he did it. And when my husband is out of town he stops by to help give baths and tuck in tots. Although that may be a little self serving since his my two year old loves seeing his Papa, and the feeling is quite mutual.188349_502463844269_896_n

My dad has the heart of a servant. He serves others and models Christ in a way that makes the Gospel come to life right before your eyes, bringing to life the Scriptural admonition to serve one another in love. Of course as a kid I thought washing dishes at Grandma’s house was some sort of unusual punishment or penance required for enjoying a bountiful Christmas morning. As I grew up though, I realized that inasmuch as Daddy was teaching us to do dishes with a  cheerful spirit (confession: I still wrestle with that), the more valuable lesson he modeled for us was that of selflessly and joyfully serving others.

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:5-7

My father-in-law has the heart of a servant. Truly. He is the first person that came to mind when I turned my attention toward the command to “serve one another.” His consistent example to me over the past 25 years has defined and shaped what it looks like to flesh out this command and has served to inspire me toward living the same. While I’ve seen his servant’s heart in action for the past 25 years of marriage to his oldest, my sister-in-law (Amanda Erickson) has been blessed with a lifetime of living and learning from this most gracious of men. May you be blessed in getting to know my amazing father-in-law, Murray Smith, through the eyes of his biggest fan.