Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Behold, I will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.”
Jeremiah 33: 6, K.J.V.
“Glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good.”
Romans 2: 10, K.J.V.
“With those who have made ready to receive Him in peaceful trust, He will come and dwell in love and joy; and great is their rest and blessedness.”
Today’s Study Text:
1. “It so happened that Aram, on one of its raiding expeditions against Israel, captured a young girl who became a maid to Naaman’s wife. One day she said to her mistress, ‘Oh, if only my master could meet the prophet of Samaria, he would be healed of his skin disease.’”
II Kings 5: 2, 3, The Message Bible
2. “Naaman stomped off, mad as a hornet. But his servants caught up with him and said, ‘Father, if the prophet had asked you to do something hard and heroic, wouldn’t you have done it? So why not this simple ‘wash and be clean?’ So he (Naaman) did it.”
II Kings 5: 12-14, The Message Bible
Definition of Consummate: Highly accomplished. Extremely skilled.
Definition of Compassion: Sympathetic concern for the suffering of another, together with the inclination to give aid or support or to show mercy.
“Compassion is what makes a person feel pain when somebody else hurts.”
What opportunities have come my way which have given me an occasion to show compassion to someone?
How did the virtue of compassion, as shown by Jesus in His ministry, make a difference in the lives of the people He touched?
“The value of compassion cannot be over-emphasized. Anyone can criticize. It takes a true believer to be compassionate. No greater burden can be borne by an individual than to know no one cares or understands.”
Andrew H. Stainback
“What are we made for, if not to bear each other’s burdens?”
Elizabeth Prentiss (1882)
She was an Israelite, carried away against her will into a life of servitude in Syria. Naaman’s servants were also most likely from the Syrian societies’ lowest class or potentially, they, too, were the “bounty” acquired in some foreign raid.
The bottom line is that both the servant girl as well as the servants who accompanied Naaman to Elisha’s home, all carried the same working title: “Servant.” Furthermore, they all ended up under the same roof, so to speak, for they found themselves employed by Syria’s top military man – General Naaman.
Now to give credit where credit is due the Biblical record gives us a few hints as to how those who served in Naaman’s house felt about their “Master.”
After being abducted during a brutal, military raid, one can only begin to imagine the harsh treatment which may well have been heaped upon a young girl by foreign soldiers. Yet we find that nowhere does this little girl complain or hold a bitter grudge against the master and mistress of the house even though the events of her abduction had left her far away from home. Instead, we find this child’s spirit was touched deeply by the suffering of her master. I can imagine that potentially the mistress of the house may have come to love the little girl possibly she was the daughter Mrs. Naaman never had. Who knows? One day though, the young servant girl may have found her mistress weeping, distraught over the consequence that could affect her own family life because of her husband’s illness. It seems that the “shoe was on the other foot” for now Mrs. Naaman may have faced the potential separation from a husband she loved. And so, with a sympathetic ear to listen and a compassionate heart of love, this young child offered hope to a hopeless couple. Thomas Merton observed that, “there is no wilderness…so beautiful, so arid, so fruitful, as the wilderness of compassion.” Then, as if refreshing our memories regarding the words spoken by the prophet Hosea who encouraged God’s children with this inspiring thought, “I will be like the dew and the night mist…you will grow and blossom like the lily and cast forth roots like the sturdy evergreens of Lebanon (Hosea 14: 5, Amplified Bible), Thomas Merton continues by saying that the wilderness of compassion is: “the only desert that shall truly flourish like a lily.”
When I think of the beautiful day lilies which fill the rocky crevices in the washes around our house and the spectacular vibrancy of the colors which stand in stark contrast to the slate colored rocks, I find myself contemplating how the quality of compassion is likened to this astounding splendor of color. And it makes me stop and wonder why we don’t, more frequently, take the time to infuse the lives of those around us with the gift of “consummate compassion.”
As we witness the lives of those individuals on the staff at General Naaman’s, whether it was a young girl from a foreign country or the servants that were hired to surround the General and meet his needs while traveling, there is a kindness and caring-spirit which possesses these “servants” that seems beyond what we might call, “routine care.”
I draw our attention specifically to the day when, upon arrival at Elisha’s home, the “snubbed” General Naaman felt that the lack of Elisha’s concern, when he in fact, had traveled some distance to receive help from the prophet, warranted an abrupt retreat from the life-saving healing that was his for-the-taking.
Instead of just going along with their boss, Naaman’s servants, who we might notice referred to Naaman as “My father,” or as the Hebrew notes, “a fatherly heritage,” encouraged the General to follow the instructions Elisha had laid out. They even went so far as to remind Naaman how easy it would be to accommodate Elisha’s simple request.
When we reflect on the fact that it was those whose service for Naaman and whose position could have been considered the lowest on the ladder of concern were the very individuals whose compassion on behalf of the General was at the most prominent level of concern, it reminds me of the way Jesus treated those whose life He touched, no matter their station in life. As the disciple Matthew reports, “Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them and He healed their sick” (Matthew 14: 14).
As I read the poem by Jan Sutch Pickard, it made we wonder what changes we could be the catalyst for in a world where compassion is in such short supply. May we take a lesson from those who served in Naaman’s household – those whose voices echo down through history with a call to express everyday in our lives – consummate compassion.
“Compassionate God, in a world which is broken, in communities which are divided, with lives that are wounded – we turn to You for healing. We open our hearts to You and receive encouragement; we listen to Your Word and find meaning; we stretch out our hands to You and find wholeness.” Amen
Jan Sutch Pickard
My Daily Creed
“Let me be a little kinder,
Let me be a little blinder
To the faults of those about me;
Let me praise a little more;
Let me be, when I am weary,
Just a little bit more cheery;
Let me serve a little better
Those that I am striving for.
Let me be a little braver
When temptation bids me waver;
Let me strive a little harder
To be all that I should be,
Let me be a little meeker
With the sister that is weaker;
Let me think more of my neighbor
And a little less of me.”
“Lord of the Universe
look in love upon Your people
Pour the healing oil of Your compassion
on a world that is wounded and dying.
Send us out in search of the lost,
to comfort the afflicted,
to bind up the broken,
and to free those trapped
under the rubble of their fallen dreams.”
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. Over the past few weeks, because of the generous outpouring of gifts from God’s “Garden daughters and sons,” we were able to complete our current projects and send 10,000 bookmarks to Papua New Guinea. We also sent 500 bookmarks in the Hindi language to Northern India. Thank you. Now we are undertaking the challenge of sending bookmarks to Russia, Lithuania and Brazil and to several domestic abuse shelters here in the United States.
My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-349-8619.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.