West Union United Methodist Church
Thursday, June 30, 2022
Luke 10:27

Pastor's Corner

 

Stirrings of the Waters

*(thoughts, observations, hopes, and/or movements of the Spirit)

Never underestimate the role you play in the lives of others, and the effect you have . . . whether you know it or not.

Some of my favorite Bible stories are the ones that leave me with more questions than answers, the ones that seem to say one thing on the surface and something else as you look deeper. The best stories appear deceptively simple and still have multiple issues contained within them. The Hebrew Bible lesson for July 3 is one of my favorite stories for just those reasons. (Read it in the Second Book of Kings, the fifth chapter.)

At first glance, a famous general – Naaman of the Syrians – has a skin disease and hears that there is a prophet in Israel, Elisha, who may be able to heal him. Simply told, Naaman goes to Elisha who tells him to wash in the Jordan River. He does so and is healed. Naaman returns to Elisha to thank him and to declare, “Now I know for certain that there’s no God anywhere on earth except in Israel.” Problem leads to miracle leads to praise. That’s WHAT happens.

The curious part of this story is not the WHAT, it’s the WHO. And the risks that are taken by the WHOs.

The first risk is taken by the servant girl of the general’s wife. An Israelite, she was captured, taken as a captive, and now is a slave in the general’s household. She risks speaking up, offering herself and her information. This is how the general knows to ask for healing. Still, it seems suspicious. Why would she help them? She puts herself in danger by offering this aid.

Another risk is taken by the general’s servants. Naaman is angry in this story because when he goes to Elisha, the prophet doesn’t even come out to see him. Elisha’s servant brings the instructions to wash. Perhaps Naaman thought Elisha would say a special prayer, or lay hands on him, or do a healing dance. And then the instruction to wash in the Jordan River? “That’s it? I could have done that at home. Our rivers are better than any river here.” In a snit, Naaman is about to turn around and stomp off to home.

Which is when the servants approach him – cautiously, would be my guess – and suggest: “You know, if the prophet had asked some deadly task, you would have done it. This is simple. What have you got to lose? Just do it.” You know the rest of the story.

When we look back at our lives, often the most help has come from the least expected places. We, even when we consider ourselves to be ordinary and humble, have the opportunity to help others. It’s a risk. Loving others is risky. Putting ourselves out there is risky. And as much as we want to resist, we know that love is always worth the risk.

As you’ve heard me say, “It takes three seconds.” It takes three seconds to say something to make someone’s day better, or to change a life. We may not be able to change the world . . . we can affect the three feet around us . . . our little corner of the world. 

Three seconds and three feet, that’s all it takes. It changed Naaman’s life. It changed our lives. And we praise God!

Grace and peace,

 

Rick
 

*              Refers to John 5:2-9, especially verse 4, concerning the pool at Bethesda within which, according to legend, when the water was stirred by an angel one might enter and be healed.