A Life That Counts

Bible Book: 2 Kings  5
Subject: Graduate Recognition Day; Bacculaurate Day; Life, Meaningful
Introduction
Graduate Recognition Day

This is your graduation recognition day. You have reached a milestone in your lives and you are to be congratulated.

A famous doctor graduated from medical school some years ago and wrote these words in his diary: “I dedicate myself, my time, my capabilities, my ambition, everything to Him. Blessed Lord, sanctify me to Thy uses. Give me no worldly success which may not lead me nearer to my Savior!”

It would be a wonderful thing if every one of you could make such a commitment to Christ as you graduate from your respective schools and universities. In essence, that is what I want to talk to you about today. I am going to address the subject, “A Life That Counts.”

A life that counts cannot be measured by the titles you earn in your profession, nor the amount of money you have at retirement or the fame you attain in between. There is something far deeper to a life that really counts for God and mankind. Someone has said, “School gets you ready for examination, life gives you the finals.” Indeed, that is true! What we do with our lives is what really counts.

Look in 2 Kings 5 at the story of Namaan and a young believer who lived a life that counted under the most difficult of circumstances. Namaan was the captain of an army, and the army he commanded had gone into Israel and had taken captive a number of the Hebrew people. Among those he seized was a young girl who was unnamed. This young lady was chosen by Namaan to work in his house as a maid. Namaan was probably in the second highest position in all of his nation.

This young captive girl learned about an illness that Namaan had, and she had a decision to make. When you live in a home you know things that others do not know. Namaan could polish his armor, dress himself and go out before the people. They did not know that the commander was sick, but the young woman knew it. She could have chosen to rejoice in his illness. After all, he had taken her captive and was an enemy of her people. But, she was a young woman with God in her heart and she chose a better and nobler path.

She told the lady of the house about a prophet in Israel who could help Namaan with his illness. She wanted the commander to go to the prophet and seek healing that was available through the Lord.

I. Her Commitment

You see, her commitment was to her God. She was not committed simply to her work at Namaan’s house or to merely be an reluctant captive. She was not committed to be her best for the Lord wherever she was and in whatever circumstances she found herself. Her commitment came from her devotion to the Lord.

Your commitment is measured by what you do when your peers will not find out about it. Your character can be calculated to a degree by how you act when others do not treat you properly. This young Hebrew girl was far from home and family, but her manner and habits did not change. Why? Because of her commitment to her God! As you graduate, you will move on to college, to graduate school or to a job - a profession. I say especially to those of you who will be leaving home soon to go on to college, keep your commitment to the Lord in your new envirnoment.

Stephen Olford penned the poem,

His, by reason of creation
His, He paid the price for me;
His, by the life-giving Spirit,
His, because I want to be.

When a country invaded another, and took prisoners from among the people, they always took the most intelligent and most beautiful to work in their homes and palaces. We see that in the choosing of Daniel when he was taken captive by the Babylonians.

The young woman in this story must have been very smart and lovely. In the master’s house she no doubt saw the golden combs with which the lady of the manor used to comb her hair. Note that she did not desire the gold or silver of her master.  She had something in her life that was greater than all that her Namaan possessed. He was rich and she was poor, in the eyes of the world. However, in the eyes of heaven, she was rich and he was poor. Her commitment was not to wealth or health. Her commitment was not to beauty or pride. Her commitment was not to popularity or fame. Her commitment was to her Lord. That, dear friends, constitutes a life that counts.

II. Her Compassion

You do not see resentment in her or anger in her heart toward her enemies. When she heard that Namaan had a disease, one might think she was overjoyed and happy about his suffering, but nothing could be further from the truth. After all, she had been taken prisoner by this man and his army, but she did not treat him in that way. She wanted him to be healed.

Only one foreigner was ever healed of leprosy in the Bible - it was Namaan, whom this young lady assisted in his misery. Jesus Himself mentioned this when He was on the earth, which means that He was impressed by it.

You see, this girl had great faith in what God could do and God’s great love in her heart. She cared about others and acted on that love and concern. She had a compassion that led her to care, led her to dare and led her to share!

It is interesting to note that Namaan with all his power and position, with all his wealth and success, still had a need. Everyone has a need. The compassionate Christian looks for the opening to reveal that our Lord is the answer to the needs of the human heart.

III. Her Consistency

Consistency means doing the right thing day after day. It means being faithful on a regular basis, no matter who you are with or what you are doing. Some people are consistent all right, only they are consistently evil or consistently wrong. To live a life that counts, you must life consistently faithful to the Lord. Trust me, this is a challenge for every believer. You have already learned this in your young lives and the challenges will only become greater as you go out to further studies and into a wider world.

As you move forward, create and maintain a consistent Christian life and habit. People will not respond to your words, if they cannot see the truth of what you say in your life. It is apparent that Namaan believed in the God this young woman served, because he saw in her attitude and lifestyle habits that backed up her words.

IV. Her Conquest

She gave directions to Namaan which he eventually followed, directions that sent him to God. Namaan, who was no question her enemy, was healed by her kindness. In essence, she took the captive, captive. She conquered the conqueror. She gave him instructions from God and he was healed because he listened to her. I have learned that people respond according to what is in them. Each gives what each has. She did not give what she received, she gave what she had in her heart. She did not hate the one who had taken captive, but kept the love of God in her heart.

Conclusion

Let me close with a story that I hope will help you as you step out into a larger, dangerous, complex and often hateful world with God’s love and attitude in your hearts and lives.

During the Cold War between the United States and the USSR following WWII, tensions were extremely high. A chance of nuclear attack was always imminent between the two countries. Berlin, in Germany, was cut in half, with one side being under the control of America and the other under the control of Russia. One day the Russians backed a dump truck up to the border that divided the city and dumped a huge truck load of horrible garbage on the American side. The next day, the Americans drove a couple of large trucks up to the Russia side and began to unloading boxes of food. Then, the Americans placed a sign on the boxes of food that said, “Each Gives What Each Has.” Wow! That is, in a way, what the young captive Hebrew woman did in regard to Namaan. She gave what was in her heart and that was the love of God.

As you go on into your future, always remember – each gives what each has. Trust in the Lord and share His love with others wherever you go. It is a tough world out there – in college or career – you need the Lord. He will not desert you, so be sure you do not desert Him! Never be a party to arrogance, pride and bullying. Never attach yourself to those who look down on others. Keep your heart for God and He will direct you in the paths that lead to a vibrant, exciting, useful, and happy life – a life that counts!