Summary: Sometimes, like Israel’s King, we are blind to the things around us.
OPEN YOUR EYES
INTRO: Syria was to the North of Israel and made many military thrusts into Israel. Much like modern Israelis and Palestinians. Israel’s king was able to anticipate these military moves and avoid the battle. Look at what the young man saw. He saw horses and chariots the first time, and he saw spiritual forces that surrounded the man of God the second time. What do we see around us?
I. WE ARE BLIND TO OUR BLESSINGS.
The servant of Elisha was so worried about the horsemen and soldiers of Ben-hadad that he forgot about the power of the God Elisha served. He was worried about his safety and that of Elisha.
He had seen the many miracles Elisha performed, and just a little while earlier had witnessed the miracle of the axe head. Now he was afraid.
It’s so easy for us to grovel in our ingratitude, gripe and grumble. It’s so easy to be negative about people and life.
When it comes to ingratitude, we all must plead guilty. There is so much good, beauty and kindness all around us, and we see only the unlovely. We see the mud and not the stars.
ILLUS: A RESCUER REJECTED Some years ago "The King’s Business" told of a Christian fisherman who lay in his boat one night when he heard a loud
splash not far away. Knowing that the owner of another craft nearby was a heavy drinker, he hurriedly jumped into the cold water and with a great effort succeeded in pulling the half-drowned man out of the bay. He carried him to his berth and applied first aid until the alcoholic regained consciousness.
Having done everything to make him comfortable, he swam back to his own boat.
The next morning he returned to inquire how he felt. "That’s none of your business," said the man defensively. The fisherman reminded him that he had risked his life to save him; but instead of showing gratitude, the man only cursed him. As the Christian rowed away, tears filled his eyes. Looking up to Heaven, he said, "When I think of how men have treated You, dear Lord, I’m filled with sorrow. Now I can begin to understand how YOU must feel."
II. WE ARE BLIND TO THE HURT OF OTHERS AND THEIR NEEDS
The king of Israel wanted to smite the enemy, but Elisha said no.There is hunger all around us. Think about the people in Kuwait and Jordan. Look in our town.
ILLUS: A pastor in Kentucky went to school at 8:00 A.M. one morning and found a teacher letting her class eat breakfast. When he asked why they were eating breakfast at school and not at home he was told that 90% of the children had no breakfast at home. An empty stomach impairs learning.
There is a song entitled: Look at the lonely people. Some who have plenty of money and possessions lack friends. There are elderly persons who need a note, a call, a visit from us.Youth can be lonely with all their activities. They need a friend, a sympathetic listener. An elderly person can help.
ILLUS: LIFE AT ITS BEST An extensive survey was conducted in the United States by a leading polling agency. Questionnaires were distributed to people of various ages and occupations. The key question was this: What are you looking for most in life? When the results were compiled, the analysts were surprised. Most of them had expected answers that would suggest materialistic goals, but the top three things that people wanted in life were love, joy, and
peace—the first three fruits of the Spirit!
III. WE ARE BLIND TO OUR SPIRITUAL RESOURCES.When Elisha depended upon God, the Syrians left them never to return.We are like paupers living in an oil-rich land. We live in spiritual poverty when we have the key (prayer) to the riches of glory.
ILLUS: A couple took a cruse for their honeymoon. They packed peanut butter and crackers to eat because they didn’t have any money. They didn’t know that the meals were included, and they could eat at the Captain’s table.
We can sit at the Captain’s table. He has paid our sin debt. He cares for us, and has the power to supply our need.