‘ Now Naaman, Captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valor, but he was a leper. And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! He would recover him of his leprosy. And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel. And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel. And he departed and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.’ II Kings 5: 1-5
So, it is apparent that Naaman had a lot going for him in the world. He was powerful and rich and a man who did not suffer fools gladly…and a leper.
Naaman traveled to the land that the maid had spoken of and he brought plenty of his fine clothes…and plenty of money. He also came with the introductory letter of the King of Syria. Surely if there was anything to be done for this rich…powerful…esteemed and feared man…it would be done.
When the king of Israel read the letter from the king of Syria, regarding Naaman, he tore his clothes and exclaimed, ‘Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send me to recover a man of his leprosy?’ II Kings 5: 7 KJV
‘And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? Let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel. So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them and be clean? Then he went down and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.’ II Kings 5: 8-14
How often in our faith life have we encountered the still quiet voice of God asking us to do something that seemed to not be logical or commensurate with our perceived rank and position in society?
When the refugee cries out for relief from starvation…war…genocide…do we say that this type of work is better done by their peers…who understand them…perhaps refugee camps in their own country…that they are attempting to flee from.
When the homeless person comes to our church door…perhaps dirty and emitting an odor…and disabled…not someone that we would take with us to a nice restaurant…or ask to enjoy a holiday meal in our home. Why, aren’t their trained professionals to care for these challenged individuals…people who understand their needs and how best to provide for them.
When our church solicits volunteers to go on a missionary journey to Africa…do we say that there are others who are uniquely qualified for this type of outreach.
Do we readily agree with our current Presidential Administration that there is no evidence that the Meals on Wheels program is producing the results that it was designed to?
Do we agree that the after school programs and food programs have not demonstrated that they are increasing the educational accomplishments of the poor student that are partaking? Perhaps these families and students will just ‘pull themselves up by their boot straps’ and ‘get theirs… like we got ours.’
Have you ever been truly hungry?
Do you think that God is a capitalist?
Is it all right…and just…and good… that millions go without health insurance. Perhaps they decided that they do not want health insurance? After all…they have access to it.
And, so, our health fails us…way before we thought that it would.
And, so, we are lonely in a crowded room…
And, so, we take pills to make us sleep. We feel a general malaise and discontent…and illness…and leprosy.
But, then again…our pools are much better than the muddy Jordan!