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Chapter Twenty-One

Go And Tell

by

Jerri Tuck

"I am debtor both to the Greeks,
and to the Barbarians;
both to the wise and to the unwise.
So, as much as in me is,
I am ready to preach the Gospel..."
Romans 1: 14-15

1In this little book I have shared a few stories of successful soul winning attempts.  From murderers to little children, from drug addicts to everyday housewives.  Miracles of salvation and deliverance.  But for every success story I could tell you about hundreds of failures.  Of times when my witness fell on deaf ears, when people ridiculed me behind my back and to my face, when many in my own family were walking the path of destruction, and I couldn't seem to make them understand that the path of Jesus was the only, truly happy one.

Like the tenacious fisherman who continues to bait his hook, cast in his line and wait for the "big one", we too must not give in to discouragement when it seems as if "we have caught nothing all day. "  Patient and persistence must be our bywords.   Nothing should deter us from our mission.  However, in order to experience the joy of the "catch", we must first see the great responsibility that is ours in reaching souls for Christ.  This will be our impetus, our motivation, to press on in this business of fishing for men!  

There's a little story, tucked away in II Kings chapters 6 and 7, which so aptly illustrates for us the tremendous debt we owe the world.  We, who have so much, cannot read this narrative without sensing the urgent appeal of the Spirit of God to be a fisher of men.

Keeping in mind that the Old Testament scriptures were written for our learning and admonition, let's go back to a little known, yet significant time in Israel's history.

2The capital city in Samaria had been undergoing siege by the Syrians for months.  They had been cut off from what food supply was available.  To top it off, there was also a great famine in the land.  Things had degenerated to such a desperate state that the King of Israel was asked to be the arbitrator in a dispute concerning the cannibalism of a woman's child.  

The king, totally helpless to provide food for his people, vowed to have the prophet Elisha beheaded.  This problem, he reasoned, was surely the prophet's fault since he had been the one to pronounce the judgment of God on Israel.  Instead of pulling down the idols in Dan and Bethel, in an act of repentance, the king plotted revenge against the prophet.

Unnoticed, outside the city walls, were four starving lepers.  Discussing their helpless plight, they decided that to remain in the city would be certain death.  Contrariwise, if they went to the camp of the enemy, perhaps they could throw themselves on their mercy and thus be spared in the process.

Mustering up their courage, they rose in the twilight of the evening.  The wails of the starving people begging for food rang in their ears as they headed for the camp of the Syrians.  What else could they do?  Perhaps the Syrians would have pity on them.  They had nothing to lose.  They were going for it.

Across the plain, as the enemy was taking a break to prepare the evening meal, they were startled by the sound of a host of chariots.  Believing that Israel had hired other nations to come to their aid and end the siege, they ran in terror.

Too frightened to take anything but the clothes on their backs, they deserted the camp.  They had no idea that Israel's God had put on this stereophonic sound show for the benefit of His people.

When the lepers arrived at the outskirts of the enemy's encampment, they were met with an eerie, unsettling silence.  Other than the movement of the livestock, there was no sign of life.  The campfires had been left unattended, and the smell of food beckoned the hungry lepers into the camp.  If it was a trap, it didn't matter.  Food!  That's all they cared about.

3

With their desire for survival overcoming any sense of possible danger, the lepers ran from campsite to campsite, eating until they were stuffed.  At last their greatest need met, they began to pilfer and plunder through the tents.  Clothes, jewels, gold, silver....it was all theirs.  They were rich! 

As they relaxed around the campfire, counting their loot, they started to feel guilty.  What good was all of this booty if they couldn't or wouldn't share it?  What about their friends and relatives back in the city?  Could they ever live with themselves if they kept this great news a secret? 

Finally one of the lepers, expressing what they had all been thinking, said, "We do not well.  This day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace!  ....now therefore come, that we may go and tell...." (II Kings 7:9)

As we look upon this scene we can hardly blame the lepers for satisfying their hunger and amassing their fortunes.  Why not?  The Syrians were their4enemies, and they no doubt felt completely justified in ransacking their camp.  On the other hand, we need to remember that back in the city their brethren were at the brink of death.  What about them?                                                                                                               

Now we see they have a choice.   Keep all the spoils of the enemy, or share with those in the city.  But then, why should they share?  After all, no one ever cared about them.  No one had offered a solution to their desperate situation.  They had been ostracized and despised since contracting leprosy.

There was no sympathy for a leper...only revulsion.

At this point in the story we can't help but admire them.  When the stark realization of their options dawned upon them, they unanimously made the right choice.  Keep the spoils all to themselves?  No way!  They must go and tell! 

Sharing their discovery wouldn't be easy.  Outwardly they still looked the same.  They still had leprosy.  The untouchables of their society.  No need to expect a hero's welcome, a pat on the back.  Maybe no one would believe them and if perchance they did, who would embrace them to show their thankfulness?  Nonetheless they "must" go.  They "must" tell.  The burden to share the good news became overwhelming.

The Bible doesn't reveal all that transpired when the lepers returned to the city.  However, I like to imagine the joy that must have spread through the city as their shouts resounded. "There's food......enough for everyone!  Come and see!"

Yes, a mighty deliverance had come to Israel!    God still loved them.  He still cared.  He saw them in their need and together, with the lepers, brought salvation. 

5What an inspiring challenge to the church today.  The need is tremendous, but provision is there!  The job is overwhelming, but we have One who goes alongside.  No matter what the messenger looks like, how eloquent his presentation, it's the message itself that brings life!

As the Lion of the Tribe of Judah roared on behalf of His people, so too, the four lepers had their part to play in Israel's salvation.   The miraculous had been accomplished by Jehovah God, as the sound of chariots struck fear in the hearts of the enemy.  The human part was done by the lepers.  They were heralds of the good news.

Friend, God has ordained that we be co-laborers with Him.  He doesn't just send us out into the world by ourselves and expect us to do the job on our own.  Like my brave friend, June Harrison, he goes with us door to door.   He says, “WE can do it!"  We are part of this glorious, triumphant church that Jesus Christ has filled and empowered.  And even as the early church went out winning the lost,  they were not alone for,  ".....they went forth,  and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.  Amen." (Mark 16:20)

Friend, we have what the world needs.  We have the One who can give life and hope.  Let's reach out to the lost, using any and every means available.  Will you join me?  Will you lay aside your wants and desires? 

Will you be inconvenienced for just one?  Will you spend your time, your energy, your money for souls?

Will you be a Fisher of Men?

The choice is yours.

Jerri Tuck –

JERRITUCK@aol.com

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