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.” 2 Kings 5:11
Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Luke 4:24
I was reflecting the other day on a bit of news here in California: the state government has approved rules that allow driverless cars to be tested on the roads without a backup human driver at the wheel. I was thinking that this passed almost unnoticed. There was no big hoopla. I remembered when I was a young man reading in novels about driverless cars and speculating how exciting they would be. But now that they are here, the idea of cars that drive themselves has become familiar, what with cars that already park themselves, beep a warning if we are in danger, can be set to travel at a constant speed, and all the other wonders of modern auto technology. They no longer look new and exciting.
It’s a rule of thumb that what is familiar to us is not held in high regard. As a teacher I often encounter situations where parents tell me that their children think that a suggestion I gave was a great idea, when they have been proposing the same with no response for months. We seem to value what is new and spectacular and disregard that which is known and commonplace.
Both Naaman and the people of Nazareth fell victim to this tendency. And isn’t it easy for us to say, “We recognize the power of Jesus; we listen to the Lord God.” And yet, many of the the troubles that I encounter seem to have simple answers when I really stop and look at them truly with the eyes of Jesus. The familiar answers (pray for those whom I’m in conflict with, approach them with love and an open heart, willing to discuss our conflict) seem too familiar to work. I want something new and spectacular that will work without an effort on my part. Perhaps I need to listen to the prophet who’s native place is in my heart of hearts, Jesus.
Today I pray that I be willing to listen to God, even if the message seems familiar.
Talib Huff volunteers and works at Christ the King Retreat Center in Citrus Heights. You may contact him at [email protected].