And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.
But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.
Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.
And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?
My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it?
Yesterday we examined Peter, who felt he was ready to lay down his life for Jesus, but stumbled when the actual danger arose. Peter had something in common with Naaman: both believed that they were ready to undertake some “great thing,” and openly invited a test of their resolve. Where their paths diverge is that Peter was actually invited to risk his life, whereas Naaman was only asked to do something small and basic.
Peter fell short of the great sacrifice, but even Naaman almost failed to do the small and simple thing! The fact that he was almost tripped up by the little thing makes me suspect that he, like Peter, may not have been as ready for the greater sacrifice that he thought he was. I once had a missionary who firmly avowed that he would gladly die for Christ’s gospel. At the time I couldn’t help thinking “but you and I are struggling with even the basic missionary rules right now, so why would either of us be ready for a sacrifice like that?”
I love the scene from the Karate Kid, where Daniel expresses his frustration at his teacher. He came to him to learn martial arts, but instead he has been assigned many menial chores. He does not yet realize that it is in the small, repetitive tasks that the reflexes of a warrior are being developed within him.
It is easy to view scripture study, prayer, acts of service, and obedience to the commandments as meaningless chores, things which have no bearing on one’s ability to undertake great spiritual causes. But in truth these practices are absolutely essential and fundamental, the little things that make all the difference.