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Unexpected Blessings

Posted on 04 Nov 2018

November 4, 2018

2 Kings 5:1-15

Rev. Kristen J. Kleiman


The lion laughed. When the small mouse the lion had caught in his paws said, “Oh, please, let me go, sir. Some day I may help you”, the lion laughed. He “laughed at the thought that the little mouse could be of any use to him.” (Aesop, The Book of Virtues, Bennett, pg 110)

If you are familiar with the tale of “The Lion and the Mouse” from Aesop’s fables, you might remember that the lion did indeed let the mouse go. Out of the kindness of his heart though, and not because the lion believed the mouse. The mouse was too small to ever help such a mighty and powerful lion.

Or so the lion thought. One day, though, this particular lion found himself caught in a net, and despite how hard he struggled, he could not get free. “He tugged and pulled with all his might, but the ropes were too strong.” (Aesop, The Book of Virtues, Bennett, pg 110) In frustration, the lion roared out. And hearing him, the mouse came running to help. Using his sharp little teeth, the mouse cut the ropes of the net and set the lion free.

And the lion learned that you don’t have to be big to be mighty. The lion learned that blessings can and do come from the most unexpected places.


Naaman, from our scripture passage this morning, was also mighty and powerful. As a commander of the king’s army, he was highly regarded by his master and his fellow countrymen. He had status, wealth, and authority. He was superior in most every way – except he had a skin condition that plagued him severely.

The young foreign slave girl in his household was inferior in most every way – except she knew of a prophet in her home country who could cure Naaman of his skin disease. Naaman could have ignored her advice. He could have reasoned, of what use is a young woman captured from Israel, a servant in my household. He could have dismissed her based on her gender, her age, her status, her nationality and race.

Like the lion, Naaman could have laughed at the young slave girl. He could have dismissed her and his wife as inferiors, as of no use to him. He did not though. Naaman embraced God’s blessing even when it came in such an unexpected way, through a person the world valued as far below him.

Was it because Naaman knew that you don’t have to be big to be mighty? Was it because Naaman understood that blessings can and do come from the most unexpected places?


Maybe and yet, when Naaman arrived at the prophet Elisha’s door, when Naaman heard the prophet’s instructions to go wash in the Jordan River seven times, Naaman became angry. Why wouldn’t the prophet come out for him and greet him in person, as befitted his station?

Why didn’t the prophet call on the name of God and in a mighty show cure Naaman of his disease? How insulting for the prophet to recommend this simple, nothing treatment, in this river that was far inferior to the ones in his own country?


While Namaan was willing to listen to the advice of an inferior and travel all this way, Naaman was not open to such an inferior manner of healing. Of what use could bathing in the Jordan River be to him?! However, Naaman finds himself persuaded by his servants to try it, and he is healed.


How very like all of us. There are times in our lives when we underestimate or overlook a blessing from God because it seems too small, because it comes from an unexpected place, an unexpected person, someone who is too young, too old, too rich, too poor, too male, too female, too gay, too straight, too whatever.

There are times when we laugh and dismiss God’s blessings because they do not come in the way we were expecting, because they do not come packaged in a way the world considers worthy and important.


And then, there are those moments, those moments, when despite the surprise, despite the unexpected way it came, despite the “littleness”, we know without a doubt that this is God’s blessing and we are thankful.

In this season of generosity, be open to God’s unexpected blessings. Be open to how God is using you as an unexpected blessing. You don’t have to be big to be mighty. You don’t have to have status and power to be a blessing.

You are God’s beloved child and you have an abundance of gifts to share with the world.

Inspired by Professor Lisa Thompson, Assistant Professor of Homiletics (preaching) at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, commentary on this passage, that at “every turn the body least valued” is the one God uses to bless. ( 11/4/18)