“9 So Naaman came with his horses and his chariots and stood at the doorway of the house of Elisha. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will be restored to you and you will be clean.” 11 But Naaman was furious and went away and said, “Behold, I thought, ‘He will surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.’ 12 Are not Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 13 Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, “My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean.” 2 Kings 5:9-14, NASB.
Sometimes, maybe often times, obedience is most difficult in the “small” things. In this story, Naaman wanted and needed healing from leprosy. “Go and bathe in the river 7 times” was the instruction of the prophet. Naaman was furious! Why not command him to kill a 1,000 men…or give a million dollars or walk 100 miles? These things would have seemed reasonable or logical to Naaman. But God instructed him to go bathe in the Jordan.
Why are we willing to go the great things while resisting the small things? “Sure pastor, I can go on the mission trip and preach or teach!” “Sorry pastor. I don’t feel like I can effectively tell the gospel to my family/my co-workers/ my neighbors.”
Why not? Are the people in India more lost than the people in Pensacola? No! Is hell any hotter for people coming from Africa? No! We struggle with obedience. This is why (specifically with evangelism) that the Scripture teaches us to “make disciples as we are going.” We don’t have to cross the sea (unless God instructs/leads us) to make disciples per se, but we must make disciples. If we would have the courage to attempt great things for God in a foreign land…why not here? If we would pray bold prayers for healing from cancer…why not pray boldly for peace during “final exam week?” If we would give sacrificially to feed the hungry in South America…why would we not sacrifice even more for our neighbors in our own county?
For many, one feels more worthy! Missions is more “attractive” than bearing witness at work…but doesn’t it feel a little strange to fly 24 hours to do something that we resist doing right where we are? Could it be that what Naaman struggled with…is precisely what we struggle with too?