Bidemi is a great guy. He is handsome, brilliant and God-fearing but he is destructive when he is angry. Rebecca is a better singer than Michael Jackson. Her efo riro (vegetable soup) is a delight and she prays with so much fire but she does not know how to keep a secret. When you are speaking with her, you are addressing the nation. Do you notice a common word in both instances that signifies a shift in the narrative? The word but.
The person we want to learn from today has a similar description. Scriptures give a glowing review of the man, but there was a “but”. Can you guess his name? I’ll give you a clue. His name starts and ends with the same alphabet. Any ideas? His name is Namaan!
Shall we pray?
Dear Lord, we ask for insight into your word. We pray that you will open the eyes of our understanding to see the great mysteries you have in store for us. We desire that you will use the lessons today to propel us to greater service and usefulness in your vineyard. Thank you, Lord, for answered prayers. For we pray in Jesus name. Amen.
LEADERSHIP WITHOUT LIMITATION – NAAMAN
“Now, Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honourable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valour, but a leper.” 2 Kings 5:1
Let’s imagine a gathering of young men and women in Syria. They are discussing the nation’s affairs over some bowls of pepper soup and goat meat. During their conversation, one of the men wants to refer to Naaman but cannot remember his name. How do you think he would describe him? Exactly! The commander that is a leper! Despite his great accomplishments, Naaman would have been labelled by his limitations.
However, by the end of his story, we see a man that can now lead without limitations. His encounter with God changed his life and positioned him for a greater level of impact. We also have limits, not in the same way though it is not likely the same one that Naaman had. So, how do we lead without limitations? We need S.W.A.G! Wondering what that means? I’ll explain. We need to:
1)Know that solution can come from any source
Usually, it is expected that problems can be solved mainly by top and middle level managers. Also, there is the tendency to believe that the rich have more wisdom than the poor. Ecclesiastes 9:16 points out that there are times when the poor man’s wisdom is despised.
The suggestion that led to Naaman’s liberation came from a young Israelite girl who was a captive and servant to his wife. If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy (2 Kings 5:3). With those words, this young girl whose name we do not know set off a chain reaction that moved kings off their feet.
It is important for us to note that there is no monopoly of wisdom. We must learn to treat people with respect and value, irrespective of their cadre or financial status. The key to a giant padlock is not always big.
2)Have a willingness to listen to others
In three instances, this great soldier showed the importance of listening. When he was searching for a solution, his wife informed him of the maid’s suggestion (2 Kings 5:3). Another person would have dismissed the idea as flimsy and impractical, but he was willing to try it out. He went to the king based on the idea of a young slave who ordinarily had no rights to speak (5:4).
After he followed through with the suggestion, he was eventually directed to the prophet Elisha. Based on his personality, he would have expected a VIP treatment from the man of God. Also, he had an idea of how he felt things would go. But they didn’t work that way. In anger, he departed with home in mind (5:11-12)
However, his servants approached him to offer a different opinion (5:13). In ancient culture, servants were not worth much and their ideas carried little or no weight. Naaman was approachable and considerate. He was willing to listen.
The third evidence of this trait was during their trip back to Syria. Naaman was in his chariot and saw Gehazi running to meet him. Even though he had received his healing and probably had commitments, he got down from his chariot and paid attention to the prophet’s servant (5:21). He was not too busy or occupied to listen.
3)Be able to adapt in search of solutions
“And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.
But Naaman became furious, and went away and said “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’ “Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.” (2 Kings 5:11-12)
Leaders often have an idea of how they expect to attain victory. This is very important in any field. However, there are times when the reality on ground calls for a different method. This often leads to anger because the leader is invested in the path he has envisioned, as we see in Namaan’s reaction.
However, based on the input of his servants which we earlier discussed, Naaman took a bold step. “So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.” (5:14)
Naaman went down figuratively and literally. He had to swallow his pride. For a man accustomed to royal treatment due to his rank in the king’s army, he had to get off his high horse and pursue the solution which was proffered by the man of God. This shows the importance of flexibility in method despite a fixation on the solution. Don’t be too attached to a solution that you refuse to try something else even when what you had in mind is not working.
4) Realize that gratitude is a virtue
After Naaman got his healing, he was under no obligation to give the man of God a gift. However, in response to the solution he received, he was willing to show gratitude (5:15b)
In our life’s journey as leaders in various spheres, we would be recipients of kind acts. It is important for us to show gratitude. Naaman did not trivialize the benefit he had received. Someone else could have made a case that the prophet did not do anything. After all, he only gave an instruction. He didn’t say a prayer. He didn’t wave his hands. He did not render any incantations. All he gave was an instruction which God could have given through someone else. Naaman was not an ingrate; he did not think that way.
Moments later when Gehazi ran up to his chariot to request a talent of silver and two changes of garments (5:22), he willingly gave double the requested amount of silver along with the garments (5:23)
As we journey, we must not forget to show gratitude to God as well as those he brings along our paths. We must be generous with our gifts to them, which can be kind words, acts of service or monetary gifts among other means.
As we conclude today, it is important for us to utilize the lessons that we are presented with. Naaman experienced a paradigm shift because he was solution-oriented despite the source. He was willing to listen to others. When things turned out differently than he planned, he was able to adapt. Finally, he had a generous heart.
Do you feel God addressing any matter in your life? Is the searchlight of God’s word showing you some areas that you need to improve on? Would you take time to talk to God in prayers and ask for his help?
Father Lord, it is our desire to lead without limitations in the various spheres of influence that you have placed and those you have planned for us. So, we ask that you will work on out hearts and help us to realize our shortcomings. We ask for open hearts and minds to listen to and learn from others. We pray for grace to obey your directives no matter our initial decisions. We ask for hearts that show gratitude to you and those you place in our lives. Help us not to be ingrates. Help us to lead like you. Thank you for answering our prayers. For we pray in Jesus name. Amen.
Iremide: We have come to the end of this series, From the Royal Courts. God has been so good! He deserves all appreciation. Thank you to everyone who has read, shared, prayed and encouraged. I appreciate you! God bless you!