Some days, the most difficult thing I have to do is get out of my car and walk into my apartment. Especially if it’s raining. Or if I’m carrying lots of things. Or if my dishes aren’t done.
I’ve heard many people talk about using their commute home from work to decompress and do something they enjoy, like listening to an audiobook, or music, or talk radio. I wouldn’t know. Since I’ve worked full time, my longest commute has been 3 minutes at most. I think part of me needs a longer commute, because several times recently I’ve found myself sitting in my car in my parking lot playing games on my phone — still in my work clothes and hungry for supper — for a good half hour.
This makes no sense, right? Food is inside. Comfy clothes are inside. WiFi and coffee and my favorite little blue chair are inside. It’s not like there are other people I’ll have to face when I walk in the door (still live alone, for about 50 more days), so why would I sit in my car instead of letting myself truly relax inside? I mean, it could be the knowledge that going inside means I have to face adulthood by cooking and taking care of my house, but even on those days when my dinner is cooked and my house is spic and span, I find it difficult to just go inside. The thought makes me weary.
Yesterday was another one of those days. In my weariness I found myself wondering how in the past week I was able to climb 10 miles of mountain, but today I can’t walk 100 yards? And then I remembered the story of a man called Naaman (pronounced NAY-mun).
Naaman was the commander of the Syrian army probably in the mid-800s BC. He was arguably one of the most powerful men in his country next to the king, and he accomplished great and heroic things for Syria. Yet Naaman had a problem. He had leprosy (you know, that disease that turns your skin white and supposedly your nose and fingers and toes all fall off). Anyway, this great and powerful man had heard of a different great and powerful man who was a prophet of God, and was said to be able to heal people of any disease. His name was Elisha. So Naaman took a long trip to another country to visit this prophet Elisha and ask for help – along with gifts of silver and gold and fancy clothes because Elisha’s country and Naaman’s country weren’t on the best of terms.
When Naaman – the great and powerful commander – arrived at the great and powerful prophet’s door, he expected a meeting of equals, with grand gestures and gift-giving. Instead, the prophet refused to even see Naaman, and he sent a messenger out to Naaman saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan River seven times” and he would be healed.
The whole situation was pretty offensive to Naaman, who wanted great! powerful! miracles! Naaman nearly stormed back to Syria, but for the loyalty of his trusted servants. Naaman was obviously well-loved, for his servants begged him to stay and wash in the Jordan River, pointing out this important fact:
“If the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘wash, and be clean’?”
Rebuked, Naaman washed in the Jordan River and was clean, by the grace and power of God. (paraphrased from 2 Kings 5)
And that’s where I find myself most days. If God asked me to climb a mountain, I’d consider that an incredible honor and I’d absolutely rely on His power to do it wholeheartedly! But climb one set of stairs? God, surely that is such a little thing. You wouldn’t ask me to do that, would you? I mean, it’s not great. It’s not powerful. Anyone can do it.
But God has called me to serve him daily in all that I do, big or small. And so today when I get home at 6pm, I’ll want to sit in my car and play games on my phone instead of trudging to my apartment I’m so very thankful for. But I’ll remember the story of Naaman, and I’ll remember this little verse written hundreds of years later:
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the gory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)