Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Unglamorous Work of God 5/30/2013

"Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, 'My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?'  So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean."  2 Kings 5:13-14

There was once a man named Naaman who was a great soldier that had distinguished himself in battle.  Unfortunately, he had leprosy.  Through the course of time and events he found himself being instructed by the prophet Elisha through a messenger to wash in the Jordan river 7 times in order that he might be cured of his condition.  Naaman was initially very angry.  He expected that Elisha would come out to him and do something miraculous.  Further, he thought there were much better and cleaner rivers than the Jordan in which to be cleansed.  The bible tells us he left Elisha's door in a rage.

This passage came to mind at last evening's bible study while talking to one of our faithful and hard working members.  He and his wife had just returned from leading a small group to tornado ravaged Oklahoma in order to lend a helping hand to those in need.  He related that a lot of the work they did involved clearing brush, picking up trash, dismantling and stacking wood from blown down fences and various other "unglamorous" (my word, not his) activities.  This brother has many talents and thought he might be doing more things like fixing roofs, installing windows or perhaps even doing some electrical work.

Through the course of our conversation, he came to realize that his and the other's willingness to pack up, drive hundreds of miles without so much as a plan for a place to lay their heads just to help perfect strangers in a time of need was the very definition of loving God with our whole selves and loving others as we love ourselves (Matt 22:37-39).  Further, the help that was rendered was critically needed by those who received it.  They helped older people who could not have done what they did by themselves.  They even did work on a home for a person who was not there.  He was not there because he was in another state receiving a bone marrow transplant due to his cancerous condition.  Their time, effort, energy and sacrifice was appreciated by all they assisted and, I believe, God is pleased.

Beloved, let us not diminish in our own minds the value of service and obedience to God.  Not everyone is going to be in a position to pull someone out of a burning building, lift a heavy object from off of a trapped individual, administer CPR to someone whose life is endangered or come to the aid of a car accident victim.  Doing good is not about the "wow factor."  It is about love and the vast majority of good done for others is quiet, small and ordinary.  God works this way so much in our lives, we not only take it for granted but we fail to see His actions for the everyday miracles they are.  Ask a severe asthmatic about the value of simply being able to breathe.

Naaman expected something big and flashy from God, but He delivered in the smallest, most quiet way.  Having him wash in the dirty Jordan, rather than the famous clear, cold and pure rivers of Damascus, Naaman was made whole, just as the people of Oklahoma will be, one small act of love and kindness at a time.

Blessings to all who do the work of God.



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