I noticed something interesting this week in the story of Elisha healing Naaman who was a mighty warrior and also a leper. I think it’s important to read the story. Go ahead and then we’ll chat about it.
1 Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a aleper.
2 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.
3 And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.
4 And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel.
5 And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and atook with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.
6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.
7 And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I aGod, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he bseeketh a quarrel against me.
8 ¶ 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 aprophet in Israel.
9 So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha.
10 And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and awash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be bclean.
11 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.
12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.
13 And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some agreat thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?
14 Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, aaccording to the saying of the man of God: and his bflesh came again like unto the cflesh of a little child, and he was dclean.
Before when I have read this story I have focused on Naaman or the Maid or Elisha. This time Naaman’s servants were the ones who took center stage. It’s a tiny part. Just one little verse. Go back and read verse 13 again.
I had a couple of thoughts.
A. How great it is to have friends who are willing to say things to you that might be scary or hard but ultimately for your own good. Can you imagine being a servant to a very important and powerful person who is in a rage because things aren’t going their way and speaking up to them? Think about how they must have felt; worried that they would be reprimanded in some way for disagreeing but still wanting the best for this man.
B. How many times have I kept my thoughts to myself even though I really wanted to help but was afraid of…I don;t know what.
I think part of the reason the whole thing may ahve worked with Naaman is because the way the servants sais what they said to him. It was reasonable and measured. They were kind and also logical. I hope I am a freind like that. I want to be teh kind of freind who won’t just walk away and let my friend suffere further if there is a simple fix.
Now this blog wouldn’t be my blog if I didn’t bring this all back around to service and ministering.
Now this is just my imagination working but I think there is no way that these servants had only been with Naaman for a few weeks or months. Likely they had been with him for a long time and really understood him. Think about that when it comes to ministering. Do you get a little sad that your people don’t call you when they need help? Do you wonder why they don’t confide in you?
If you answered no, well, please go and visit your people more often and get to know them. A text message to one of the family every few months is not cutting it and you need to learn to love them.
Once you learn to love them then you probably answered yes. If that’s the case they still don;t trust you, know you well enough or consider you a friend. Yes, ministering is an assignment. That’s because we really do need to make sure that each family has someone they can rely on and those assignments help the leaders in the ward keep things straight in their heads. They are only human afterall. But, we all need to get past the part of it feeling like an assignment and get to the point where we want to spend time with those people and we think about them and worry about them. This takes time. Sometimes months and sometimes way longer than that. Don’t give up. Because you want to get to the point where they are your people who you can say to each other “Hey, let’s do this the easy way rather than the complicated way that you are wishing for.” (I’m paraphrasing Naaman’s servants.)