A simple suggestion has power to produce great things in the lives of individuals. This is brought to our attention in the account of the healing of Naaman, the leper, in 2 Kings 5. “And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid: and she waited on Naaman’s wife. And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! For he would recover him of his leprosy.” (2 Kings 5:2-3) This little maid was a captive and was living in a foreign land. She was, most likely, separated from her family. She was in a situation where many people would become bitter and feel that God had forsaken them. There is no indication of this in her life. She well remembered the prophet of God with God’s healing power and offered the suggestion to her mistress: “Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria: for he would recover him of his leprosy.” This was a simple suggestion which brought about the events of Naaman being healed of his leprosy. There are many things in life that we do not have the ability to perform. However, most of us have the ability to offer profitable and helpful suggestions. We should always be ready to act in keeping with our suggestions and not be like the man who said that his ability involved making the suggestions for others to do. He exempted himself from the work by contending that he was the suggestion maker. As one might imagine, such an outlook has caused irritation to other brethren who must bear the burden of work.
A Simple Suggestion Has Power To Move Men To:
Think. The maid spoke of the prophet in Samaria who could recover Naaman of his leprosy. With the help of his king, he thought enough of this suggestion to make the journey to Samaria. Suggestions are helpful today that we might think as we should. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” (Proverbs 23:7). “Finally , brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8) A proper suggestion has led many a person to start a life of thinking properly!
Investigate. Proof of this may be lacking in the account of Naaman, but investigation often follows the suggestion. “Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.” (John 1:45-46). Nathanael heeded the suggestion and was blessed of the Lord. The Bereans were not afraid to investigate. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11). The preaching of the word of God suggests and encourages investigation of the truth.
Action. The suggestion from the maid prompted Naaman to go to Samaria for the healing. He made numerous mistakes in first going to the king of Israel rather than to the prophet; in becoming angry at the command to wash seven times in the river Jordan; in being presumptuous and saying “behold I thought” that the leper would be recovered in a certain way; thinking about waters in Syria as a substitute and in turning away in a rage. In fact, it took another suggestion for him to do the will of God to be healed. His servants suggested that “if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? How much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?” (vs.13). In many respects, the preaching of the gospel is the appeal of suggestion. We can’t make or compel people to obey the truth, but we certainly can suggest it in a persuading manner. Peter did this on Pentecost when he told believers to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins. I personally know of cases where a mere suggestion to attend a service of the church has brought people to obedience to the gospel. We must be careful with our suggestions! John the Baptist lost his head because of an evil suggestion that was instigated by Herodias. (Matthew 14). Yes, actions can be suggestive of good or evil. Naaman obeyed the word of God and his flesh came to him as the flesh of a child. He was healed by grace through faith. But remember.., it was the suggestion from a little maid that “got the ball rolling”. Have you suggested Christ to some one today?
This is the third and last lesson dealing with this subject. Big is defined in different ways and some of these definitions are much more important than others. The lukewarm church at Laodicea sorely needed to concentrate upon the proper definition of big. “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white rainment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” (Revelation 3:17-18) It would appear, that in their own eyes, they were big, but little in the sight of the Lord or as the Lord viewed them. This valuation can be tragic to the spirituality of any congregation. Numbers, wealth and a degree of satisfaction, may have their importance, but they can never take the place of doing the will of God, and in all things, having the spirit of Christ. Congregations may boast of their large numbers and the wealth of their members, but what about their spirituality? How big are they in being faithful to the Lord? They may need to heed the warning to the Laodiceans: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Revelation 3:19). Regardless of numbers, churches need to be big in accepting all of the truth; exposing that which is false; and condemning worldliness. These principles with their values have been mentioned in previous lessons. What other areas of bigness need to be mentioned?
Living or existing above prejudice. Members in some congregations seem to believe that the gospel is only for those of a certain race or nationality. There have been occasions where some of a particular race were told it would be better for them to attend another congregation where they would be welcomed. They were saying that some in that congregation were so prejudiced against that race of people that fellowship would not be extended to them. In view of this occurring, which congregation would you classify little or big in the sight of the Lord? Prejudice has been so powerful that it has caused some in particular congregations to tell those of a certain race or color that they didn’t even have a soul. I thank my Heavenly Father that He is not prejudicial. At the Gentile household Of Cornelius, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” (Acts 10:34-35). No nation is accepted with God to the exclusion of others. God accepts those in every nation who fear Him and work the righteousness of God which is found in the gospel of Christ. Churches should guard against having the attitude of the Jews in Antioch of Pisidia when the Gentiles requested that the gospel be preached to them. “But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” (Acts 13:45-46). Prejudice can rob churches of precious truth; generous feelings toward the souls of others, and keep them from being like Christ. Prejudice can reduce churches from being big to becoming little before God.
Laboring to reach lost souls. The mission of Christ is stated in Luke 19:10: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” The church is the body of Christ and is to continue with the mission in which the Lord was engaged. So many churches appear to advocate that their mission is to provide social activities along with entertainment and recreation for their members. A social gospel occupies their activities more than emphasizing the gospel of Christ. In their hearts, the welfare of man on earth takes priority over preparing men for a heavenly home and living eternally with souls which are saved. Paul complimented the church at Thessalonica with these words: “So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.” (1 Thessalonians 1:7-8). They were sounding out the word of the Lord to lost souls who needed salvation. They were not sounding out invitations to fun and frolic. Nothing took precedent over their efforts in reaching lost souls with the gospel of Christ. Paul admonished the church at Philippi: “Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” (Philippians 2:16). In holding forth the word of life, they would be pleasing to the Lord and big in His sight.