Yesterday, we talked about Jesus using Naaman as an example to the people of His hometown about God doing great and miraculous things through unlikely people in response to their faith. For the next few days, I want to give you a little bit more background on this Gentile warrior and highlight what his story teaches us about life in the Kingdom of God. Naaman was a soldier in every sense of the word — he was brawny, bold, and not afraid to execute violence to defeat his enemies. He was commander over the armies of Aram (the modern-day region of Syria) and as such, he fought battle after battle against the Israelites, often taking heaping helpings of plunder from their midst. At one point, he even captured a young Hebrew woman and gave her to his wife as a maidservant. However, while he was strong and fierce, Naaman was also afflicted with leprosy, a degenerative skin disease that was common in the ancient world. Watching his condition worsen, his wife’s servant grew concerned and told her mistress that there was a Jewish prophet named Elisha who could heal him. Desperate and willing to try anything — even something that required him to seek help from an enemy nation — he went to his king and asked permission to go to Israel. Thankfully, his leader dispatched him with his blessing and composed a letter to the Jewish King explaining the reason for the commander’s upcoming visit. In spite of the fact that it incurred great cost and demanded a level of humility not common between two nations, when it came to Naaman’s healing, no measure was too great and no trip was too far!
My friend, like the young Hebrew maiden in this story, strive to be a minister of compassion, even toward the least deserving. While she could have withheld her knowledge of her God — Jehovah Rapha — from her captor, she chose to do good toward him in spite of the fact that he enslaved her. You see, when you show others the unconditional love of Jesus and reflect His heart of dignity toward those who mistreat you, you open up a door to divine power. Similarly, like the king of Aram, be willing to do uncomfortable things for the sake of those you lead. Though it requires you to swallow your pride and possibly even “lose face” in the eyes of your enemies or competitors, choose to elevate the welfare of the ones you serve above your own reputation. As you do this, the Lord will work through the love and compassion in your heart to reveal His presence in powerful and miraculous ways!