2 Kings 5:1-14 & Luke 10:1-4,17-20
Two gas company servicemen, a senior training supervisor and a young trainee were out checking meters in a suburban neighborhood. They parked their truck at the end of the alley and worked their way to the other end. At the last house a woman, looking out her kitchen window, watched the two men as they checked her gas meter.
Finishing the meter check, the senior supervisor challenged his younger co-worker to a foot race down the alley back to the truck to prove that an older guy could outrun a younger one. As they came running up to the truck, they realized the lady from that last house was huffing and puffing right behind them. They stopped immediately and asked her what was wrong. Gasping for breath, she replied, “When I see two gas men running as hard as you two were, I figured I’d better run too!”
We all should be careful about making assumptions. I have learned never to assume some one will do what they’ve said they’ll do, and I’ve also learned never to jump to conclusions. I’ve learned these lessons the hard way.
Naaman didn’t assume that Elisha could heal him of his leprosy. In fact, he became angry with Elisha, when Elisha told him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” (2 Kings 5:10) Elisha didn’t even come out of his house, but sent a messenger to Naaman. In verse 11 we read, “But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.”
Naaman didn’t think Elisha just speaking a healing word would do the trick. Yet, we know it did. The thing was that Naaman had to do something in order to be healed of the leprosy. He had to take part in his own healing. When he did what Elisha told him to, Naaman was cured of his leprosy!
I think this is a good lesson for each of us. We have to take responsibility for our physical, mental and spiritual health. Nobody else will do it for us. Living a healthy lifestyle will influence the people around us; our children, our grandchildren, our friends, and other family members, such as cousins, aunts and uncles.
So, who was the first influencer? According to Pope Francis, the first influencer was Mary. The pope was speaking in Panama on World Youth Day, a big rally for young Catholics, when he made the comments. His remarks were then posted on the official Twitter account, and of course, went viral. “With her ‘yes,’ Mary became the most influential woman in history. Without social networks, she became the first ‘influencer,’ the ‘influencer’ of God,” he wrote.
The pope appealed to the young people to say “yes.” “Are you willing to be an influencer like Mary?” he asked. Some young people were amused by what they perceived was the pope’s attempt to connect with adolescents. One person tweeted: “And what are the Gospels, if not the first retweets?” Another wrote, “So it was said in the book of Snapchaticus 4:20. Praise be!” *
Jesus was a great influencer as well. He sent the seventy-two disciples two by two out to prove that they could heal others. Yet he sent them out with practically nothing.
We read in verse 4 of Luke 10, “Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.”
Backpacking has taught me the value of traveling light. I’ve learned that the hard way, also. Taking too much stuff, weighs a person down. One seasoned hiker explained it this way. Prepare for a hike by making three piles. The first pile should contain only those things you absolutely cannot live without. In the second pile put the things you would like to have but don’t have to have. Then in the third pile, put all those things that would make life on the trail a lot more comfortable but, which you could get along without. This is where you put the light weight hammock, the camp chair, and your extra clean clothes. Now, discard everything that is in piles two and three, pick up the first pile and head for the woods. That is what Jesus is advising his disciples to do in today’s lesson. Travel light. Don’t get bogged down with too many things.
When the seventy-two returned they returned with joy because they had discovered what they could do because they believed in the power of Jesus. Jesus spoke the healing word to them, he told them to go out and heal the people and they did!
In verse 17 we read, “The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” But Jesus cautioned them, saying in verse 20, “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
The devotion for July 2, 2019, in the Upper Room tells a story of compassion. The story is told by Lin Daniels. Lin writes, ‘As I sat in the waiting area of the emergency room, my thoughts were fixed on my asthma related breathing issues. I had not planned to spend time at the hospital that day. Nearby sat a five-year-old boy named Dominic, sporting a small bandage on his head. The nurse confided that he was quite frightened. I edged over to the open seat adjoining Dominic and his mother and asked him if he would like to see some animal photos on my cell phone. As my attention shifted from my self to the boy, I quickly had a new friend.
Soon Dominic noticed an elderly woman quietly crying on the opposite side of the waiting room. “Would you like to come with me to check on her?” I asked. As I expressed Dominic’s concern to her, she introduced herself and shook his hand. Before long, she and Dominic were looking at pictures of her pet dogs and grandchildren. I smiled as the kindness in both their hearts over took their immediate worries.
My interaction with Dominic helped me to realized that we can allow God’s kindness to travel with us wherever we go. As we plant seeds of compassion, they are multiplied exponentially. And in each action and word, to God be the glory!**
I’m sure many of you do things for others that you don’t take credit for. This is an example of living out the love of Jesus Christ. Living out the love of Jesus, by speaking kind, healing words to a person who is hurting, and doing kind deeds will bring more people to Jesus, and into the Kingdom of God.
The old saying, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is a lie! Bones and bruises heal, but unkind words stay with us forever.
Let us pray: Loving Father God, when we speak kind, healing words, and treat others kindly, we are living out the love of Jesus Christ in our lives. We will then make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Help us to have the courage to be kind. Amen
Pastor Rosemary DeHut
References:- *“Pope describes Mary as world’s first influencer,” expressandstar.com, January 27, 2019. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
** Upper Room, July 2, 2019, Seeds of Compassion. Page 8.