Small Acts of Obedience Lead to Big Blessings

Have you ever started working on a task that you thought was going to be hard and time consuming, only to look up a short time later and realize that you were done? Did you have that feeling of, is that really all there is to it? The story we are going to look at today is one of those stories. It is about a man named Naaman. Naaman was a Syrian army commander who contracted leprosy. At the time, leprosy was a death sentence. However, Naaman gets told to go see the prophet is Israel named Elisha. When Naaman arrives at Elisha’s house, he is expecting Elisha to come out and see him. Naaman, after all, was an important person in his country, wasn’t he worthy of having the prophet come out to see him? He certainly thought he was. However, Elisha sends out one of his servants and has the servant tell Naaman what to do. This infuriates Naaman, and he decides he doesn’t want to do what the prophet had told him to do. As Naaman turns and begins to leave and head back to his country, one of his servants comes and reasons with him. 2 Kings 5:13 says, “And his servants came near him, and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, wash and be clean?'” All Naaman had to do in order to be healed of this deadly disease was go to the Jordan River and dip seven times. Simple enough right? But Naaman didn’t want to. He didn’t like how Elisha had treated him by not coming out to him personally, and Naaman didn’t want to dip in Israel’s river. He thought the rivers in Syria were much better than the Jordan. He almost missed God doing the miraculous in his life, because he didn’t like the package it came wrapped in.

My question to us is this, are we sometimes the same way? We often think that the things God is most impressed by are the “big” things we do for Him and His kingdom. We think the bigger the better. Yet, time and time again what we see in the Bible is that God is looking for people to be faithful in the little things. As we are faithful to obey the Lord in the little things, they add up to big blessings, and they typically make a big impact in our lives and the lives of those around us. If we are honest, a lot of times we want to do the big things, because more people notice those than the thousands of little things that get done. It really is more about stroking our ego and giving ourselves importance that it is about God. We need to learn that God looks past the outward actions, to our heart. We need to learn to be faithful to the Lord in the everyday, routine tasks. We need to be the same person in private as we portray ourselves to be in public. Jesus said in the Gospels, if we do things for the approval of people, we have our reward. But if what we are doing is for the Lord, and we don’t draw attention to ourselves for doing it, He will reward us.

There is an important salvation message in this text that I want to end this post talking about. Leprosy in the Bible is often a picture of sin. Naaman, while being a literal person, also represents each of us in that we are all sinners. Naaman wanted to do things his way, on his terms, and on his turf. This represents those who want to come to God their way, instead of the way that God has prescribed as the only way we can come to Him. The message of the Gospel is that while we were yet dead in our sin, without hope or help, God in His love sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, and on the third day Jesus rose from the dead claiming victory over sin and death. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Naaman being told to go dip in the Jordan River seven times pictures the sinner having to exercise the faith God gives them in order to be saved. Naaman would have been willing to do anything, but this simple act of faith and obedience didn’t make sense to him. The same is true for you and I, many people today are trying to work their way into heaven. Yet, the plan of salvation is a simple act of surrendering to God’s grace in faith, believing that Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection are the only way we can be saved.

What about you? Are you trying to come to God on your own terms? Are you trying to be good enough or work your way into heaven? May we see the true way to God is not by what we do, but rather by trusting in what Jesus did as the only way to be saved. Salvation truly is simple, and that is probably why so many people miss it, and think, there must be more to it than this. The Bible says there isn’t. Will you trust God’s Word and be saved? Will those who are saved be faithful in private and in the little things of life? I hope so. If you have questions or you would like to know more about what it means to follow Jesus, please reach out to me at pastorjustin@westlakebaptist.org.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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