Eric Liddell, the great Scottish sprinter and missionary to China, won a gold medal in the 1924 400-meter Olympic finals. He was hailed as a national hero in his home country and accolades were heaped upon him worldwide. He could have stayed at home and been treated as royalty for the rest of his life. Instead, he took a boat to China and died in obscurity in a Japanese internment camp during World War II, having turned his back on recognition from anyone . . . except the Savior he obeyed.
Naaman was a great man who served a powerful king (2 Kings 5:1), but he also needed to obey God. When he went to see if the God of Israel was able to heal him, he expected to meet another powerful representative of God. What he got was a messenger—not even “the man” himself (2 Kings 5:10). It got worse. He was told to simply go take a bath in a little river, not even a mighty torrent (2 Kings 5:12). This was an insult to such a great man, and he was furious (2 Kings 5:11). His servants—who knew much about humility—explained the reality of the situation to him (2 Kings 5:13). What was his response after being healed? He gave thanks and glory to God—not to a man (2 Kings 5:15).
Elisha knew that God would answer Naaman. No great ceremony was necessary, only obedience to what God had said through His prophet. Further, Elisha must have known how great men expect to be treated, but he didn’t play such games. He knew that it was all about God and bringing glory to Him. He took none of the credit (2 Kings 5:16).
Like Eric Liddell and Naaman, may we find joy and completeness in serving and following God by His strength. He’s truly worthy of our love and complete obedience.
This devotional was written by Russell Frolic of Our Daily Bread Ministries: www.odb.org