The mumps. You don't hear much about the mumps anymore. Cases of the mumps are as rare now as hens' teeth. Since the vaccine for the mumps was licensed way back when I started my senior year of high school (oops, I forgot...you don't know when I started my senior year...it was 1967) the cases of mumps reported among children have been slim and next to none. Children are vaccinated for the mumps now. They just don't get them. With that, a fascinating piece of americana has passed. The spreading of the mumps was one of those things that, when you heard someone's child had them, you sent your kid over to get them, just so they wouldn't have to worry about ever getting them again.
That was how I got the mumps back in grade school (that's elementary school for the uninitiated). Peggy McClaskey got the mumps. The McClaskeys went to our church so my mom wanted to do something for Peggy. She got ahold of Lola, Peggy's mom, and told her she would send over some soup. Guess who the soup bearer was? Yep. Me. The McClaskeys lived on State Street in Jeffersonville, Ohio, just about a half block up from the junction of State and Maple (my street). Our house was the second one on Maple so it was a short walk for me to carry the soup to the McClaskeys. Of course, I had to go see Peggy when I got there and, as Peggy did a lot back then, she hugged me. Bingo. I got the mumps.
The mumps is a, or are a, viral infection of the salivary glands between the ear and the jaw. They get infected and swell up and become very painful. The joy of having the mumps is that once you have it (or them) you become immune to the virus and can never get them again. Cool, huh? It is (they are...do I need to keep doing that?) very contagious. So, let's recap. The mumps are very contagious and, when once gotten, can never be gotten again. Now they are all but absent from society due to the presence of vaccines which prevent the virus from doing its dirty work. Bottom line, no more mumps. However, there are still plenty of contagious diseases which can be spread by human contact as simple as laughing. That's the point of concern for us today. Are we contagious?
Seriously!!! Are we contagious? Is our love and dedication for the work of the Lord Jesus Christ so intense that it is contagious to the point where we "infect" others? It is supposed to be. Jesus said so. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16 Didja catch that? The intensity of our relationship and commitment to Jesus is to be so great that it overcomes others to the point that they cannot help but give glory to God the Father for His great gift of Jesus. That's contagious faith. And once they've got, they never have to get it again. It's theirs for life, eternity even.
Peter kinda hinted at the same thing when he wrote, "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you." 1 Peter 3:15 Sanctify the Lord God; set Him apart in your hearts. Isolate Him so you can listen to Him instead of Him being a part of all the other stuff. Let Him infect your heart and take it over. That way when people see that you have something they don't have, they'll ask you why you have it. Then let your contagion overcome them. Explain to them simply, "I am a carrier of the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord who gave Himself for my salvation." So...are you a carrier?
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