Peter’s mother-in-law had become feverishly sick. Upon learning of this, the Lord grabbed “her hand, and the fever left her,” at which point “she arose and served them” (Mt. 8.15).
Often, translations, however accurately rendered, fail to do justice to the essence of the original word. That is certainly true in this case.
“Served” stems from diakonéō (deacon). Literally rendered, it signifies: to kick up the dust thoroughly [because on the move]*. This vivid definition warrants several observations.
First, service requires action. Dust is “kicked up” by the feet, not the mind only (cf. Jms. 2.14-26).
Second, contrary to the world’s perceptions, service is not demeaning; in Christ, it is honorable to be “on the move” for others (cf. Mt. 20.25-28; Phil. 2.3-4).
Third, service should be habitual. “Served” is written in the imperfect tense, denoting: she kept serving them. Serving others allows for no “off” switch. Indeed, God remembers those who “have ministered” and “do minister” (Heb. 6.10).
Therefore, may the dust of the earth learn to fear the Christian’s feet, for it shall be given no respite when a servant of the Lord is nearby (cf. Rm. 10.15; Eph. 6.15)!