2 Kings 8:1-6 – “The Go” Was About Trusting God With The Reasons Why!

Posted: May 30, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 8:1-6

The Shumenite Woman Returns Home

Over the past two and a half months since learning that I had been accepted for service in the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church and had been assigned to a church, I have had some time to reflect. The main area of reflection was exactly what moving to the Quad Cities really meant in the grand scheme of my ministry career.

Was it a mistake? If becoming a pastor in South Carolina was God’s goal, then, what was the point of us going to Illinois? Couldn’t we have learned what we needed to learn without having to leave my home state? When you think about Elena and I both having to return home to the Carolinas for the deaths of each of our fathers and not being there when they took their last breaths on earth, why did we have to go? What was the point?

As I have had time to reflect, there are several points to us moving to Illinois. First, it was to learn that I had a lot to learn about being in ministry full-time and even about accounting in ministry. Things were so different for me that it was like being fresh out of college again. It was an humbling experience. Thinking that I had the finance thing down and was ready to be groomed for the pastoral side of ministry was prideful. Learning how things worked at Calvary from a financial reporting standpoint was so different that I had to re-learn things. It was humbling. That’s what God does to us at times, breaks us down so He can build us up into something useful for His kingdom. It was not about the actual learning of Calvary’s systems. It was about learning that even in my historically chosen profession that I did not know it all. It was about humbling me in the thing that I had always excelled at. That was necessary for showing me that going into my new church next month that I do not know it all, will not know it all, and be willing to admit that.

The second thing was to teach us that ministry is really about relationships. Since I did not get much exposure to teaching and preaching, we made a concerted effort just to love on the people of Calvary. That was our ministry – to be intentional about loving the people of our church, getting to know them, getting into their lives, about not really caring about limelight but about plowing the field that God had provided us. Relationships – that was the field to plow. As a result, God allowed us to be in relationship with so many families of our church and them knowing how much we truly cared about them. Some relationships were closer than others but there were many. Some specific relationships will be lifetime relationships that we take with us as we leave. If nothing else was learned in this past year and a half, it was worth it for having developed these relationships. Church is about relationships. Relationships with Jesus Christ and then with each other. That’s the point.

The biggest thing though that I think was the point of us moving to Illinois was “the go”. Before you have a flashback to a Charmin commercials (“enjoy the go” ad campaign), let me reset what “the go” means! “The go” for us was the moving to Illinois. That point of the move was the move. It boils down to how much you trust in the Lord. Moving to Illinois seemed crazy by human standards. Why go? There is no connection to you otherwise. You don’t know a soul in this set of river towns known as The Quad Cities. Why go? It boils down to trusting in the Lord. We would not have learned the lessons to be learned and met the people we met and loved the people we loved without “the go”. We went to The Quad Cities because God called Elena and me to full-time ministry. I honestly feel that God chose The Quad Cities to see if we would chuck out comfortable life in the Greenville-Spartanburg, SC area and follow Him to a “foreign land.” We had been yearning to go into full-time ministry for many years at that point. God said, “OK follow me to the Midwest where you know no one and have never even seen these towns before!” Follow me to something you do not know. Follow me to somewhere you will be starting all over again. Follow me where I send you. And just go. Just go because I said so.

That’s the thing that I thought of this afternoon after reading the scripture for today, 2 Kings 8:1-6. In this passage, we learn that the Shunemite woman (that we have seen been before – Elisha raised her son from the dead in 2 Kings 4:34-35) moved away from Israel because Elisha (acting as an agent of God) had told her to do so. That got me to thinking about our move to Illinois and what it meant. Let’s read the passage now:

Chapter 8

1 Elisha had told the woman whose son he had brought back to life, “Take your family and move to some other place, for the Lord has called for a famine on Israel that will last for seven years.” 2 So the woman did as the man of God instructed. She took her family and settled in the land of the Philistines for seven years.

3 After the famine ended she returned from the land of the Philistines, and she went to see the king about getting back her house and land. 4 As she came in, the king was talking with Gehazi, the servant of the man of God. The king had just said, “Tell me some stories about the great things Elisha has done.” 5 And Gehazi was telling the king about the time Elisha had brought a boy back to life. At that very moment, the mother of the boy walked in to make her appeal to the king about her house and land.

“Look, my lord the king!” Gehazi exclaimed. “Here is the woman now, and this is her son—the very one Elisha brought back to life!”

6 “Is this true?” the king asked her. And she told him the story. So he directed one of his officials to see that everything she had lost was restored to her, including the value of any crops that had been harvested during her absence.

In this passage, we see that the Shunemite woman had followed the instructions of the “man of God”, Elisha. She went to a foreign land because he, acting as an agent of God, had directed her to do so. What trust that must have taken! To leave her husband’s ancestral land and the land to be inherited by her son and go to a foreign land just because a man of God directed her to do so required a great deal of faith. However, her faith displayed by her action was ultimately rewarded when she returned to Israel after the famine was over. She was rewarded for her faith and her response by having her land restored to her and compensation for the crops that were grown and harvested in her absence.

Now that we stand here ready for what’s next (next month), I can identify with this story. The Shunemite woman was rewarded for her obedience. In the same way, I believe in my heart that I would not have the opportunity that stands before me had it not been for obedience. “The go” to Illinois provided me with the experience needed for being accepted for service by the South Carolina United Methodist Church. “The go” to Illinois, though, was far greater in God’s eyes in that He saw that we were for real about following anywhere He led us. “The go” to Illinois was about Him preparing us for what He has prepared for us. “The go” to Illinois taught us some valuable lessons about ministry that were needed prior to us moving into what He has prepared for us. “The go” was about trusting its purpose. “The go” was about obedience to God. “The go” was about preparation, necessary preparation. “The go” was about “going” and letting God handle the reasons why.

Amen and Amen.

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