And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” (2 Kings 5:13)
Naaman was a successful man, the kind of person that others look up to. He was a leader of men, a general in the army of the King of Syria. In most ways he had what others long for, except for one giant exception: he was a leper. The disease was not only disgusting, it was also a death sentence.
General Naaman came to the prophet Elisha for healing, but Elisha wouldn’t even see him. Through a messenger the prophet told him to go to the humble, muddy Jordan River and wash himself seven times. Naaman was furious that he wasn’t treated better as was given such a humble – almost ridiculous – path to healing.
He was so offended that Naaman would have walked away in anger if not for the wise advice of his unnamed servants. The servants of Naaman used a brilliantly logical approach. If Elisha had asked Naaman to sacrifice 100 or 1,000 animals to the God of Israel, Naaman would have done it immediately. Yet because his request was so easy to do and humbling, Naaman refused in anger.
Naaman was willing to do something great or something difficult so that he could gain some of the credit for his healing. It would be his accomplishment and achievement. To do something so simple, so humbling, meant that the great general would get no credit for what happened. It would be God’s gift alone.
It’s the same way with the rescue we receive from Jesus Christ. He asks us to do something so simple – to trust in Him, to rely on Him, to believe upon Him – that even a child could do it. This doesn’t take great strength, wisdom, willpower, or moral character. We believe and receive.
If you told people, “real life on earth and eternal life in heaven is yours if you crawl up this mountain over sharp rocks,” there would be a long line of people willing to do it. The message, “Jesus paid it all – believe on Him and receive” – isn’t as popular. But it is true, and it works. Naaman was healed, and not by anything he did. We can all receive real life on earth and eternal life in heaven as a gift received from Jesus – but not by anything we do. It is true, and it works.
And, thank God for His unnamed but wise servants!