Self importance and the simplicity of grace

2 Kings 5:1, 9-14

I have always loved this story. Naaman, a highly respected general of the king of Syria, has a problem, a big one, leprosy.  Leprosy throughout all of scripture is the most heinous of diseases. I think in large part this is because it took an otherwise whole person, and separated them out from all human contact.

You really should read whole chapter, it is good stuff, what we miss in the selected reading was the witness of a slave girl, that caused Naaman to visit Elisha in the first place.

Once he appears on Elisha’s doorstep, Naaman, already ostracized because of this disease, feels ignored when Elisha doesn’t come out to talk to him.  Now, Naaman, despite his disease, is use to people doing what he asks, so add a little hubris to the mix, and he gets quite huffy when Elisha tells him just to go wash in the muddy Jordan and he will be healed.  Naaman, wanted acknowledgement at the very least, and maybe some kind of flashy hocus pocus, because this was serious, and the more serious the problem the more serious the solution must be, right?

Naaman’s ego and expectations almost prevent him from experiencing God’s healing grace.  How often do we too find ourselves in a similar boat. I have often seen healing of mind, body, and spirit done in the smallest and simplest of loving gestures. A kind word, a thoughtful gesture, and very often just the gift of presence for another in a time of struggle, brings God’s healing grace to someone who is afflicted. I have also seen, experienced and brushed off myself, those small offerings of grace, as not enough. In those times I have rejected God’s grace because, I wanted something bigger, grander, and more important because it’s me, and I deserve it! When small graces are brushed off and rejected, they are not given the chance to be healing.

The point of the story today is that someone talked some sense into Naaman, he went and washed and was made clean, and that small act made all the difference. Today, considering all the press about the election, who won and who didn’t and what will come of it all. I think it is important to remember that the biggest differences, the most help and hope we can offer comes not in press worthy events, government programs or policies, but in the kindness and grace we offer to one another through the love of God given to us in Jesus Christ.


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