Getting Beyond Me
Wednesday - May 12th
Scripture to Read Today: 2 Kings 5:1-27
But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, the man of God, said to himself, "My master should not have let this Aramean get away without accepting any of his gifts. As surely as the LORD lives, I will chase after him and get something from him." So Gehazi set off after Naaman.
2 Kings 5:20-21
"It's not about you!" This opening sentence of Rick Warren's book "The Purpose Driven Life" grabbed my attention as I read it for the first time. Rarely do I read the first line of a book and stop to ponder it. This one was the exception. "It's not about you!" That is both simple and profound at the same time.
Both the Old and New Testaments tell us that we should love God with all we've got, and then we should love those around us every day. Our natural impulse drives us to think about ourselves first and foremost - not God and others. Getting beyond me is critical to finding joy and satisfaction in life.
In 2 Kings 5, we read the story of two people who got that it was not about them and one who stayed stuck on himself. Naaman, a general in the army of the nation of Aram, Israel's enemy, had taken home a Jewish girl as a slave after he invaded and ransacked her country. Naaman's maid suggested her master go to the prophet in Israel, Elisha, to be healed of his leprosy. The young maid showed grace toward someone that most might say did not deserve such grace. She got beyond herself. She knew it was not about her.
Naaman went to Israel and, after following specific directions from Elisha, experienced healing from God. The leprosy was completely gone. Naaman offered to pay Elisha for healing him. Elisha refused. Like the young maid, the prophet of Jehovah extended grace to the conquering general. Elisha got beyond himself too.
Gehazi, Elisha's assistant or servant, could not get beyond himself. He found it ludicrous that Elisha did not demand or receive money from the enemy general. So, Gehazi ran after Naaman. He concocted a story about his master changing his mind and sending him to Naaman to collect the gift offered earlier. God reveals this to Elisha, and Gehazi is struck with the same leprosy from which Naaman had been healed. Gehazi could not get beyond himself. He got caught up in his greed and what he wanted.
It's easy to get caught up in ourselves. It's natural to overlook the needs of others for what we want and need. Sometimes it boils down to self-preservation. More often than not, it boils down to selfishness and self-centeredness. In the last year, we have spent a lot of time away from co-workers, friends, neighbors, and even our families. We may emerge into a post-COVID world focused solely on our own needs and wants. Let's follow the example of the young maid and the old prophet. Let's get beyond ourselves and into the lives of others!
Go out of your way to spend more time with, find a way to help, or send a text of encouragement to, someone we might not usually include in our daily routine. Find a way to get beyond yourself!
Satisfaction floods the life that can get beyond self and invest in others. God blesses them in unique ways!