8.9.11

TC 2011: What would you do?

As TC 2011 came to a close our speak, Chris Throness, did an excellent job of asking the question "what's next?" It is a question that looms larger and larger as any retreat or camp comes to a close. Here we are, away from home, having an amazing experience. What happens when we go back? We cannot, and should not, hang onto "the high." Life doesn't work like that. But what should you do to continue in the presence of God? What would you do? I am willing to bet that you, like I, would have answered that question with one word: "Anything." Now that you are home, half a week away from camp, the question becomes "what will you do?"

Let me tell you a story. 
Once upon a time, in the age of swords and shields, there lived a great man named Nahamon. Nahamon was a daring warrior, valiant and highly regarded in all the land. He had won many great victories for his king and so had been named General of the army. However, one day Nahamon was struck with a terrible wasting disease. There was no cure and despite all his attempts, Nahamon seemed lost. Then, one of his servants came to him and spoke of a great mystic and healer, Elisio who could heal Nahamon. 

Naturally, Nahamon had questions and doubts, but he also had no other hope. With permission from his king Nahamon loaded up carts with extravagant gifts; gold, silver, and clothing fit for a king. Nahamon was, after all, a great man who had done many great deeds and so he knew that in order to be healed he would have to make great sacrifices. He and all his aides set off to the far away land of which his servant spoke. 

When they arrived they again did what a great man expected to do: they approached the king. But this king knew not what to do and despaired of what failure would bring him. In the midst of his despair, Elisio sent word that he would receive this foreign hero. 

Nahamon, relieved and nervous at the same time, went to meet the great mystic. What would
be asked of him? What feats of courage, strength, or heroism would be required to win healing? All he could do was ask and find out. But Elisio did not even come out to meet this great man himself. Instead, Nahamon was met by a mere servant before he arrived at Elisio's house. This servant told him to go and wash himself seven times in a nearby river to be healed. 
Nahamon was insulted and angered by this. To be instructed by a mere servant? And only to wash in a river? What kind of nonsense was this? There were rivers everywhere and none of them had ever healed him. In his rage Nahamon set out to return home. 

Thankfully for Nahamon, one of his servants was wise. He approached Nahamon and said to him, "My Lord, if this mystic had asked of you great deeds you would gladly have done them. Why, then, will you not do such a simple thing as wash yourself in a river?" Nahamon saw the truth of these words and so he went, washed, and indeed he was healed. 



Our story does not end here, but I would like to pause and reflect. Do you think you would do anything to follow God? To respond to your experience this weekend? What if what God asks of you, first and foremost, is something simple and humbling? What if the first steps are the things you have heard about ever since you started coming to church? Things like reading your bible and praying? Would you do that? Will you?

The truth is that God will almost definitely ask big things of us some day. Big is, of course, relative. We don't live in a hollywood action flick. More importantly, however, we have to be ready for those big things. That is what day to day faithfulness is for. That is why it is one of the key aspects of living a Christian life. To just do, day in and day out, regardless of how we feel, the things we have been commanded to do and the things we trust are life giving because God has told us they are. Warren Wiersbe has written about these day to day difficulties and he asks a very important question: If we can't handle the minor complaints of life heroically, how will we respond if something really serious comes our way? 

I would urge you, then, to make sure you understand that each day, no matter what comes, is a chance for you to live in the presence of God, faithfully follow Jesus, and walk in the power of the Spirit. I would urge you to answer the question "what will you do?" with the word "anything" and mean it; no matter how small, simple, or humbling these first steps are. And I would urge you to remember that just as you could not earn anything that happened this weekend, just as Nahamon could not earn his healing with great deeds, you cannot earn this either. Rely on God. 

As for Nahamon and Elisio, if you want to hear the rest of the story, check out 2 Kings 5. I just used the phonetic spelling for Naaman and the Italian spelling for Elisha. 

7 comments:

Lawell said...

Try the Power of One! What's ONE thing (and only ONE thing) that you will change or do as a result of the camp? No matter how big or small, what's one thing in your life that you will change because of what you learn from the camp? Will you commit to reading the Bible once a day? Will you commit to reaching out to a lost friend and reconnect with them to God?

Linda said...

I find that it is the small things in life that ensnare us the most easily. We are always more thoughtful and prepared with the big stuff.

Anonymous said...

The first picture in your article is of Yue Fei (as identified by the Chinese characters in the picture). He was a heroic figure from Chinese history whose own story resonates oddly with your article.

Roger Hui

Andrew said...

That's cool, and totally coincidental. What part of the story resonates oddly? There is a lot of info on that wikipedia page :)

Anonymous said...

It is as if you'd used a photograph of Douglas MacArthur (in place of Yue Fei) as an illustration to your article.

Roger Hui

LesbicaBulimicaProblematica creativa said...

great page. LesbicaBulimicaProblematica

Andrew said...

Thanks :)