Power of the Word 4-1
Sunday, February 6, 2005

   
There is a bit of the child in each one of us.  We seek to find ways in which to remember the "good old days" and to keep our minds alert.  Many people enjoy doing crossword puzzles and word games.  Others enjoy playing Trivia Pursuit and Monoply.  Board games are yet party favorites among adults.  Card games call many of us back to a more simple way of life.  Yet, returning to "simple" is a difficult process for most adults.  Life has to be
complicated.  Options have to be multiple.  And, decisions have to be difficult for the average one of us. 
 
  You know you're living in 2005 when...
1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.
2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.
3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.
4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.
5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.
6. You go home after a long day at work you still answer the phone in a business manner.
7. You make phone calls from home, you accidentally dial "9" to get an outside line.
8. You've sat at the same desk for four years and worked for three
different companies.
10. You learn about your redundancy on the 11 o'clock news.
11. Your boss doesn't have the ability to do your job.
12. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home.
13. Every commercial on television has a website at the bottom of the screen.
14. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.
15. You get up in the morning and go online before getting your coffee.
16. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. :)
17. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.
20. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a #9 on this list.  AND NOW YOU'RE LAUGHING at yourself.  (From the email circuit)
     I hope that you can see why it's so difficult for us to simply live the abundant life.  We have too many gadgets, toys and conveniences to "help" us out.  And, it seems as if the things meant to help us are now in control of us!  Yet, The Biblical story for this week shows that even way back then, there were adults who could not do "simple".  It took a child to lead the way to wholeness for an adult in this story. 
   Naaman, was a commander of the army of Iraq.  He, like Colon Powell was a well respected man of color with great military feats under his belt.  Yet, the disease of leprosy had come to visit him and would not leave!  At this point in life, there was no cure and lepers had to soon leave their homes, their families and surroundings in order to not infect them with the dread, slow killing process.  Naaman, hero or not, was doomed for the lepers colony, crying out, "Unclean. Unclean," to all who might approach his way.
    A young girl who Naaman had captured and brought back from Israel as a maid for his wife, knew a secret about the prophet, Elisha.  We are not given the girls name, for she was not important to the compiler of this story.  Now, isn't that something?  For the reality is that without her, Naaman would have soon been a dead man!  But, this entire chapter 2 Kings 5, is due to the young woman sharing what she knew with the woman whose spouse had stolen her away from home! 
   This young woman, unnamed, went to inform her "mistress" of the miracles that Elisha  had done in Israel, back home.  And, the women quickly told her husband of the amazing possibility that could occur.  Naaman went to his king, who wrote a letter to the king of Israel, sent great sums of money and plenty of clothes to "buy" a miracle!  They could not understand the simplicity of faith.  They could not handle the simplicity of a gift.  They could not comprehend that there are some things that money cannot buy!  Good health and long life cannot be bought, regardless to how wealthy one might become.  And, taking horses, chariots and servants, off Naaman went to seek the man of God.
   The Prophet Elisha sent word to Naaman, through a messenger: "Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan river, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed."(2 Kings 5: 10)  But, this was too simple for a great man like Naaman to grab ahold of and understand.  And, surely, it was too simple to just go and do!  Naaman wanted respect.  Naaman, a dying man, wanted recognition.  Naaman, a man with money, but without hope, wanted something else, perhaps something more sophisticated, more complicated and complex to occur.  So, because simple is difficult for adults, who feel they know everything, Naaman got angry and decided to return home with his leprosy! 
    The great army commander was a fool!  The great commander in chief was an idiot.  The great man of war, capture and defeat was about to leave Israel without accomplishing his purpose due to not wanting to follow simple instructions!  What does this say to you?
    "Live holy."  "Tell the truth."   "Treat others like you want to be treated."  "Love your neighbor as you love yourself."  "Put away foolishness."  "Love your wife in the same manner that Christ loved the Church."  "Cease from formication."  "Train up your child in the way that they should go."  Are all of these simple enough?  What's complicated about following God's way?  perhaps, we, like Naaman, want something more.  Maybe it's the Naaman in us that causes us to not follow the simple way of holy living!  It took another "servant" to go and say to Naaman, "...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 to go and to wash.."
    Finally, Naaman got the message!  The end of the story is that after washing and being clean, Naaman declares, "Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel." (2 Kings 5:15)  What one simple thing will you decide to do as we walk through this season of Lent, awaiting the Resurrection of Easter Sunday?  Pick something simple and then, just do it!
    Shalom, Dear One, God's Best Shalom!    On the journey with ya! Let's live holy; laugh often; and let's love with flair and with extravagance!
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