Summary: Naaman was mighty, but he needed the healing of God.
By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
“Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and
highly regarded....but he had leprosy.”
It is so easy for us to feel that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
Many of us spend our entire lives wishing that we were somebody else.
Gee, that person is so successful. That person is so highly regarded.
That person doesn’t let anything bother him or her.
That person has no problems.
I wish I could be that person.
Well, the truth of the matter is that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.
All of us have problems that eat away at our souls.
In our Old Testament Lesson for this morning, we come face to face with a man named Naaman, the
military commander of the Aramean army.
Naaman is a very great man who has recieved the favor of the King of Aram, Syria, because of his
victory over Israel.
But as great as Naaman is portrayed to be, there was something wrong, and his problem is introduced
with the three-letter conjunction “but.”
That small word changes everything.
How many of us have that small word in our lives that changes everything?
She’s the most beautiful model in the world, but she has a lousy personality.
He’s very successful at his job. He makes oodles of money, but his wife and children hate him.
A colleague of mine told me this past week that when he began serving at his present
appointment...everything seemed to be going great.
Then one evening he got a telephone call from a parishioner.
“Pastor, you are doing a great job here, but....”
We all have this word in our lives.
None of us are perfect.
No one has it all together.
And in Naaman’s case, in spite of all his accomplishments, his power, and his prestige, there was
something else that was actually controlling and defining this Mighty man’s life.
Naaman was a leper.
And leprosy was the AIDS of Naaman’s day.
And although Naaman’s leprosy was probably not the most serious form, it was a skin disease that
carried with it a certain social stigma.
He was now Leper Naaman, Commander of the army.
And this meant that Naaman was an outcast, a person who was to be avoided, a person who would be
devoid of all human touch.
Mighty Naaman would now be treated as an object of disgust.
Living in Naaman’s household, was a girl who had been taken captive from the land of Israel.
She was a servant to Naaman’s wife.
Instead of being bitter and thinking, “Let him die; he’s getting exactly what he deserves,” this servant girl
informed her mistress that there was a prophet in Samaria who could cure Naaman of his leprosy.
And thus, we once more, have a minor biblical character who takes on a major role.
Little did this humble Hebrew girl realize that her unselfish faith in God would change the fate of
Naaman’s life forever.
She didn’t hide her faith, she used it.
Who knows what God will do with our faith if we are only willing to unselfishly share it with others?
There are so many Naamans living in our world today.
They are our neighbors, our collegues, our classmates, our teachers, our friends.
They are crippled by some hurt, some pain, a memory from their past, or a lingering illness...
...and they too need someone who will reach out and touch them, who will love them, who will see their pain and
tell them where they can find help.
And like the slave girl in our Lesson, we as the church of Jesus Christ are called to be the ones who
touch others, love others, see their pain, and tell them about Jesus Christ.
So, Naaman left for Elisha’s house in Samaria, and he took a whole bunch of treasure with him.
Now, money can do a lot, but it can never purchase for a person the healing of their soul nor the peace of
his or her mind.
Naaman had to travel all the way from Syria to Elisha, the man of God, in order to find his cure.
The so-called gods of Syria weren’t up to the task.
And the so-called gods of this age are unable to heal us and give us eternal life.
Several years ago, I was watching the Johnny Carson show. Johnny’s guest was one of the wealthiest
men in the world.
Johnny asked this elderly man if there was anything that he didn’t have that he would like to have.