Thursday, March 15, 2012

God's Will, Human Pride, and The Butterfly Effect

On March 24th, I'm going to be on a show called "The Butterfly Effect."  The premise is that we can make big differences with small actions.  I've been wondering exactly what I can say on this show.  Monday, I read this in the daily readings:

2nd book of Kings 5:1-15a.

Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha's house.
The prophet sent him the message: "Go and wash seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean."
But Naaman went away angry, saying, "I thought that he would surely come out and stand there to invoke the LORD his God, and would move his hand over the spot, and thus cure the leprosy.
Are not the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be cleansed?" With this, he turned about in anger and left.
But his servants came up and reasoned with him. "My father," they said, "if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary, would you not have done it? All the more now, since he said to you, 'Wash and be clean,' should you do as he said."
So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. 
Don't you love it?  Elisha gives him a simple task--go jump in the river--and Naaman would almost rather live with leprosy than do something so menial.  Maybe part of it was pride, but I'm betting part of it was simply the thought that it couldn't be enough.  Leprosy is a flesh-eating disease--it's HUGE!  How could he get cured from washing a couple of times in a river (a second-rater river in his mind, at that)?

Sometimes, God asks us for the smallest things, especially in comparison to the reward He promises us.  It exemplifies the butterfly effect--a small action on our part can mean a great impact elsewhere, and not always for us, personally.  Sometimes, we might not even know the effect we have.

1 comment:

Terri Bruce said...

What a great workshop topic! We can never underestimate the power of small actions - sometimes a smile or a kind word can completely change someone's day. So many times I'l be waiting at a light or sitting in traffic, will accidentally make eye contact with another driver, and get a smile from them. That smile makes me smile and I find myself smiling the whole way home.