But his servants approached and said to him, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it?
2 Kings 5:13 HCSB
Oh, sorry, I almost skipped ahead to the end of the story. Let me go back to the beginning and please, read along if you like (2Kings 5:1-14). Naaman, a commander of the Syrian army was a leaper. As a result of his many raids into Israel, he had a maid servant for his wife. This girl, who was taken from her home against her will, to be a salve in this mans home, took pity on him and suggested that he travel to see the prophet Elisha. (talk about love your enemies! but that was the point of last post not this one).
So, Naaman went to his King and told him what the servant girl said. The King told Naaman to go and even wrote a letter to the King of Israel for Naaman to take on the trip along with a great deal of Silver and Gold and other gifts. When Naaman arrived at the home of the Prophet Elisha he was met by Elisha messenger who told him – “Go wash seven times in the Jordan and your flesh will be restored and you will be clean.”
Well! How dare he!?!? Naaman was angry and insulted. He expected the Prophet to come out and perform some intense prayer or sacrifice or something. Additionally, the Prophet didn’t even come out to greet Naaman – he sent a messenger! Finally, Naaman believed that there were several “better” rivers in Damascus compared to the Jordan. Rejected, Naaman was determined to ignore the Prophets instructions and go home. His servants approached and said to him, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great (difficult) thing, would you not have done it? Reluctantly Naaman yields and dips seven times in the Jordan River. When he finishes his skin looks fresh as a new born baby.
The moral of the story is this – Naaman went to the Prophet with an expectation of what would happen and how he would be healed. He was prepared to pay a large sum of money and do whatever was asked of him (assuming it was logical to him to do it). When faced with the humiliation of having an errand boy address him and instruct him to do such a seemingly simple task Naaman balked. In the end what was expected of Naaman wasn’t difficult to do – only humbling.
Isn’t that just like so many people? We expect to have to pay our way. Some recite endless strings of prayers or abstain from certain foods at special times. Some believe that they must punish themselves physically so as to be purged of sins or deprive themselves of companionship to get closer to God. There’s a need inside us to feel that we “earned” what we have. Unfortunately, or fortunately, God’s ways are not our ways.
In the book of Acts chapter 16 we see Paul and Silas in jail and singing songs of praise. When a great earthquake shook their doors open and their shackles free. The jailer thinking that Paul and Silas had escaped was going to fall on his sword but they stopped him. The jailer asked them – Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved
It really is that easy. No Penance, No flogging. No Fasting. No Pilgrimages. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero!
Have Faith in God. Trust in the Lord. Call out to Jesus.