A Brief Meditation for the Month

January 2023

In the seventh chapter of the second book of Kings, four starving leprous men took cognizance of their behaviour and concluded, “We do not well.” Their words were self-condemnatory. When they thought seriously about what they were doing and what they were failing to do at the time, they condemned themselves. Having faced the truth about their attitude and actions, they immediately changed. Their self-centred behaviour gave way to concern for others. They had their problems and personal afflictions to deal with, and we might be ready to forgive their determination to take full advantage of the unexpected bounty that came their way. Used to living on the margins of society, perhaps feeling neglected and forgotten, they saw their opportunity to experience a better future. It was an opportunity not to be missed. In their enthusiasm, however, they forgot the plight of so many others. The personal needs of these lepers were very real, but the conditions of a city full of perishing people were equally acute. In their haste to care for themselves, they overlooked the needy souls in Samaria. Sympathetic towards these lepers, we might think they were entitled to experience some comfort and enjoyment in life, yet what they were partaking of was free for the taking. They did not earn it or purchase it. Thus, when they concluded, “We do not well,” they were acknowledging that they ought to have been doing differently for the benefit of others. Convicted of their selfishness, they immediately acted to remedy the situation. Even though it was night, they did not delay. To their commendation, they wasted no time transmitting the information that food and relief were available to the king and his perishing subjects in the besieged city. With no loss to themselves, they brought blessings and benefits to many.

Venturing into another year, most of us are hoping for some degree of success in the will of God. Very naturally, success in life is welcomed by most of us. However, to succeed, we often need to review what we are doing and how we are doing it to ensure we are not on the road to failure. Success often results from the awareness and acknowledgement at some point, “we do not well.” If this produces improvement, however, such an acknowledgement may be humbling, but it is necessary. Thus, unless changes for the better are implemented, loss, disappointment, and lack of success only persist as before.

As Christians, on the threshold of a New Year, it ought to be our intention to be and do our very best for Christ, our Saviour. He requires us throughout the year before us in His will, to be as lights amid our society’s darkness, Matthew 5:16. As partakers of the free blessings of the gospel of grace, we, like the four lepers, need to remember those around us who are perishing in ignorance of what we enjoy. The apostle Paul addressed a pertinent question to the Corinthian believers—“Who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it.” 1 Corinthians 4:7. If we have experienced the saving grace of God and others are ignorant of such grace, surely we ought to grasp every available opportunity that presents itself during the year ahead of us to speak willingly and wisely to those in need of that grace. If we have the knowledge of the Salvation our fellow sinners need, “We do not well,” if we selfishly withhold it from them. If we do not give our very best in the service of Christ and for the spiritual good of our neighbours, “We do not well.” Opportunities may be fewer today in our secular, materialistic society; nevertheless, providence will present them.

G. G. Hutton.