“What we are doing is not right. This is a day of good news, and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this good news to the royal palace.” [2 Kings 7:9].
In the Book of Second Kings, an interesting story takes place. Ben-Hadad, the King of Aram, decided to mobilize his army in order to attack Israel. When he arrived with his army at the city of Samaria, he literally trapped and imprisoned the Samaritans behind their own city wall. No longer able to come and go, the people of the city slowly began to starve as the siege continued day after day. The siege grew so bad that women began to eat their own children in order to stay alive.
While all of this was going on, there were four lepers who were hiding outside the city gate from the Aramean army. Evidently, they did not make it into the city when the Arameans laid siege to it and now found themselves in a precarious situation, trapped between the closed gates of Samaria and the blood-thirsty Aramean army. What to do, they wondered?
Finally, they decided that the best thing to do would be to simply surrender themselves to the Aramean army in hopes of finding mercy within their ranks. At dusk, they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, to their utter surprise, they saw that not a man remained! This is because the Lord had supernaturally spooked the Arameans at dusk and caused them to flee with their horses, donkeys, and chariots. Fleeing for their lives, they left the camp just as it was. The tents and all of their food, clothing, silver, and gold were left behind.
Unfortunately, because the citizens of Samaria were not aware that this supernatural event had occurred, they were still hiding behind the city walls while they slowly starved to death.
When the four lepers reached the edge of the camp, they knew that they had hit pay dirt. It just didn’t get any better than this! But instead of immediately taking the good news of what God had done on Israel’s behalf to the royal palace, they began to enter the tents of the soldiers that had been left behind, eating and drinking the food that was inside them. Not content with this, they then took some of the silver, gold, and clothing, and hid them, going from tent to tent in order to discover more plunder that they could keep for themselves.
Finally, they realized that what they were doing was terribly wrong in the sight of the Lord. Here they were eating, drinking, and feasting in freedom, and hoarding Aramean treasures all to themselves, while their fellow Samaritans were imprisoned behind city walls and dying of hunger and thirst. They said to each other, “What we are doing is not right. This is a day of good news, and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this good news to the royal palace.” [2 Kings 7:9].
This is precisely what they did, and the Samaritan citizens were finally delivered.
Anytime I read this story, it serves as a reminder to me of my responsibility as a teacher of God’s Word. I have a holy obligation before God to pass on those things which His Spirit has revealed to my heart. If God has entrusted to me the treasure of a teaching gift, He expects me to share that gift with others, not hoard it to myself. If I choose to draw a little circle around myself and enjoy all of the good things that God has entrusted to me without sharing them with a world that is spiritually hungry, thirsty, and imprisoned, how am I unlike the four guilty lepers who sat eating and drinking in the Aramean tents while their fellow citizens were imprisoned and starving to death behind city walls?
This story also applies to the Church of Jesus Christ as a whole – a Church which was established by her Lord to be a light in this dark world and a messenger of Truth. This is a day of good news! We are not to keep this good news to ourselves while the world around us is spiritually starving and imprisoned. The lepers knew that if they didn’t deliver the good news to the Samaritans, at some point, they would be discovered and punished by the King. How much more should we apply this warning to ourselves, when we all know that there is coming a day when we will stand before our own Lord and King in order to give an account of what we did with the gifts, treasures, and graces that He entrusted to us?
Let us not forget the example set before us in the Gospels. Hungry crowds came before Jesus, who directed them to sit down in groups on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, gave thanks, and broke the loaves. He then gave them to His disciples to set before the people, which they did. He then did the same thing with the fish. What Christ passed on to His disciples was then passed on to the hungry crowds so that they would no longer be hungry. Can you imagine how it would have looked in the sight of God the Father if He saw that Christ and His disciples were eating and drinking among themselves while thousands of people all around them were going hungry?
Nowhere in Scripture are we taught to keep anything to ourselves! Everything that has been entrusted to us must be shared with others that God may be glorified and man’s physical and spiritual needs might be met.
To give to our Father in Heaven anything less than this is to walk, not in the Spirit of Christ Jesus our Lord, but in the spirit of the four lepers who selfishly ate, drank, and hoarded in freedom…
… while their fellow citizens remained starving in their imprisonment.
Join the new media evangelization. Your tax-deductible gift allows Catholic.net to build a culture of life in our nation and throughout the world. Please help us promote the Church's new evangelization by donating to Catholic.net right now. God bless you for your generosity.
|Print Article||Email Friend||Palm Download||Forums||Questions||More in this Channel||Up|
Write a comment on this article|