January 16, 2007


2 Kings 5:1-15

But Naaman went away angry ... 2 Kings 5:11


Naaman wanted the royal treatment. He wanted a magical wave of the hand and a touch of drama and glamour to accompany his healing. He was a great man, accustomed to being fussed over. Pampered.

I just read about a church multiplex. When you enter, you can have Starbucks coffee and delightful foods. You can stroll around and choose your own worship style. Do you want to worship with jazz music, or classical, or more of a classic-rock style? Just find your preferred area, sink into movie theater seats, and observe.

Do I sound cynical? Maybe I am--or just a little jealous. Of course, Christians should aggressively reach out to people who don't believe, and possibly the multiplex could help with that.

But what if Jesus has to embarrass you in order to save you? What if, to truly know the joy of God, you have to be humbled and thoroughly uncomfortable?

If you are not yet a Christian and you are waiting to be entertained and pampered, know this: as awesome as it is to know the grace of Jesus, walking with him involves self-discipline, sacrifice, and even suffering.

Or, maybe you are a Christian but you have become overstuffed and pompous. You strut into church and make demands. Read again about how the servant is not above his master (see John 13:1-17).

Forgive my pride, Father. Wash me; show me how to take up my cross and follow you. Lead me in Jesus, I pray, to serve you and others, following Jesus' example. Amen.

About the author — Keith Mannes

Keith Mannes serves as pastor at Highland Christian Reformed Church in McBain, Michigan. Keith and his wife, Alicia, recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary,
and they are thankful for their three children—Eben, Charis, and Breanna.

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