Jonathan's Perspective  

Apr 30

'GRAND GESTURE OR SMALL OBEDIENCE?'

There is an interesting story in 2 Kings 5 about an Aramian general, Naaman, who goes to the prophet Elisha in Israel to be healed of leprosy. Elisha didn’t even come out of the house to greet him. Instead, he sent his servant to Naaman who conveyed the message that Naaman should wash himself seven times in the Jordan to be completely healed. Naaman was indignant. He was expecting to be asked to do some great deed or make some great sacrifice. Instead he was asked to bathe.  

It is interesting how we can be like Naaman. The grand gesture sounds noble in nature when really it is egotistical. It amounts to saying, “Look what I have done! Now you owe me for my great feat.” The healing of Naaman was not about his goodness or grand gesture. It was about God’s goodness and God’s grand gesture. Babies and children are wired to see things from their point of view. Unfortunately, many don’t grow out of that immature view of the world and as adults, still want to make it about themselves. “Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”” (2 Kings 5:13)

There is another allure to a grand gesture. By its nature, it is a one-off. A grand gesture only needs to be performed once. We can make a grand apology, then return to a bad habit. We can make a grand show of love, then not perform the daily acts of love. We can make a grand repentance, then return to the sins that caused us to make that repentance. One-offs don’t create permanent change. Jesus tells us that it is faithfulness in the small things that provide later opportunity for the great. “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’” (Luke 19:17)

The moral of the Naaman story is: You are not God and God’s long-term desire is for us to be faithful with small, mundane obedience. You see, God is interested in changing us – heart, soul, mind, and strength. Good character doesn’t happen with a one-off gesture, and it doesn’t happen on our terms. It takes humility and persistence. God asks for small obediences which will create the deep inner change that He desires. 

Inviting you further into the Kingdom,

Jonathan

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