I love the multifaceted story of Naaman found in 2 Kings chapter 5. Probably because, on some level, I can relate to his stubbornness, disobedience and self-righteousness. Yet, this is a redemption story; one of reward, gratitude, repentance and forgiveness…which, thankfully, I can also relate to! In the end, Naaman, a highly esteemed Syrian commander who has leprosy, is healed. This is a great reminder to me of how we can become defiled, yet God’s loving pursuit and restoration is available. If you don’t know the full story, please do yourself a favor and read it. You won’t be disappointed! However, it is not just Naaman that I want to focus on.
Naaman’s servant girl suggested that he go to see the prophet, Elisha. This nameless servant was, quite frankly, ground zero in his redemption story. We know that she was taken captive by the Syrian Army and that she comes from Israel. I suspect she must have had a confident, yet subservient disposition, which likely won her the favor of her master. How else could one explain why Naaman would even entertain her suggestion, let alone act on it? Although low in stature, she was bold in her faith, displayed great compassion for him, and was compelled to relay the idea of traveling to see Elisha. Did she doubt that she should speak up? Did she know that her act of obedience would have the impact that it did?
Naaman did go to see the prophet, but he didn’t like how he was treated by Elisha. Neither did he like what he was told to do. Consequently, he left enraged. When his other servants (men, also low in stature) witnessed his tantrum, they became his voice of reason and encouraged him to do as the prophet had instructed. Long story short, Naaman finally did submit to the direction of Elisha. He was cleansed, healed and renewed, both in body and spirit. What if the servant men had gotten on Naaman’s bandwagon of despair? Did the servants know that their encouragement would have such a deep impact?
Whether a commander or a servant, we each have purpose that is not limited to our station in life. We have situations that we come against that can change the trajectory of our lives, as well as the lives of those around us. We make choices every day that have great impact and will, undoubtedly, affect others. This is our legacy for generations to come.
How will you respond to those life changing situations? Will you be bold and confident, as was the compassionate, captive servant girl? Will you be defiant and stubborn as was the initial reaction of Naaman? Will you be an encouraging friend who directs or redirects others to consider what is right and proper, as did the servant men? Will you be open to a change of heart, recognizing that maybe you do not have all of the answers? Will you allow yourself to change, be healed and forgiven? The answer to these questions will differ from person to person. The point is to be aware of our responses and interactions. To be mindful when to speak and on what to say.
We are each here with a purpose; never discount that. Grab hold of what you want your legacy to look like. Whether commander or servant, you WILL have an impact! It is a question of trajectory.