Monday, March 19, 2007

Lessons from an Unknown Servant Girl

It's a normal day, and you are at your house with your family. You and your sister are helping your mom with dinner while your dad and brothers work in the yard. Your country is at war, so supplies are tight, but your family does as much as possible to keep things positive. In the midst of cooking, two soldiers kick down your front door. You scream as they grab you. You reach for your mother, but it's too late. One of the soldiers already has you in his arms and out the door. You cry as you and your family are all taken separate are now a servant girl to a leader from your country's enemy... Weeks after you are taken, you discover that your master has a deadly disease. How would you react?

Well, I'm going to be really honest. If you're me, my first reaction is, "Serves you right! Take me away from my family, and see what happens to you!! Hope it hurts!" Yeah, I know... that's not the reaction you would expect from a Christian young woman. I hope that if I was genuinely put in that situation that I would behave like the girl that this very thing actually happened to did...but that would definately be my first reaction!

This whole story is recorded in II Kings 5:1-19. I'll tell you the condensed version. Like many of the other amazing women in the Bible, we don't know this young girl's name, but there are several things we do now. She was an young Israelite and was taken prisoner by the Syrians. She was ordered to be a servant girl to a man named Naaman. We are unsure if she was actually captured by him or if she was purchased for his household in a slave market. Either way is possible. Her actual job was to serve Naaman's wife, so she probably performed household chores, like cooking meals and cleaning, as well as bathing and dressing her mistress. From what we know about Naaman, he seemed like a decent enough guy. He was known as a great man and a brave warrior in his nation, and he was respected by his king. Then, he was struck with leprosy (a really gross contagious disease that can sometimes NEVER go away, that causes alterations in your skin and nerves, muscle weakness, deformities, and paralysis.)

So here's where the amazing part comes in. This servant girl remembered in Israel that there was a prophet who had healed men of leprosy in the name of God. II Kings 5:3 says, "She said to her mistress, "If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy." To cut a long story short, (but check out the whole thing on your's an awesome story!) Naaman did go to the prophet, and he was healed of his leprosy. Not only that, but II Kings 5:15, Naaman even declares faith in God! He said, "Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel." All because a teenage girl spoke up!

There is SO much we can learn from this young servant let's dig in.

She was compassionate. She was felt sorry that her master had leprosy and wanted him to be healed. Where she certainly had every reason to hate this man, she desires for him to be cured from his sickness. Instead of being consumed in her own heartache of being ripped from her family, she was concerned for someone else. When was the last time that you genuinely thought of someone else before looking out for yourself? This servant girl had nothing to gain from helping her master. I mean, it's not like she would be released back to her family if she gave him this information. But this man who had taken her away from her family mattered to her because she knew that Naaman mattered to God.

She was trustworthy. The mistress related what the girl had said to her husband, then "Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said.” (II Kings 5:4) You want to know the best way to be trustworthy to people? Be real. Be genuine. Be YOURSELF. People can spot fakeness from a mile away.

She had serious faith. Even though she was in a difficult circumstance herself, she still believed that God was going to take care of her. She also believed in the power of the prophet of God - that God could empower him to heal her master. As a servant, if she had wasted her master's time and money to go to a prophet who did not help him, her life could have been in danger. But she never doubted that God could and would heal Naaman.

Her boldness led to Naaman's salvation. Instead of being bitter about her circumstance, she was a blessing to Naaman and his family by offering him a way out of a deadly disease. After seeing a miracle of God, Naaman submitted himself to the Lord and is in heaven today because she had the courage to speak up! Being brave can be hard...but wouldn't it be worth it if someone came up to you in heaven and told you that they were there because YOU chose to be bold?

She took the opportunity God gave her. We never know when or how God might use us. But we do know that there are plenty of lost people out there who need Jesus. Look past your own circumstance and take every chance you get to share with those you come in contact with that Jesus is the answer to their problem.

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Esther 4:14b

"And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"