Since I was a boy, I’ve been a fan of Abraham Lincoln. No, I never saw him in person. I do know he was born in a log cabin, I read about him studying by candlelight, splitting rails as a young man, grieving over the death of the love of his youth, and then becoming an unlikely political leader. And then the dark days of trying to hold a nation together during the Civil War, and then, his tragic death just five days after the end of that war. His name, his life, his face – they’re known around the world.
But only a couple of years ago, I learned something about Abraham Lincoln’s life that really thrilled my heart. I read a Lincoln scholar’s description of him making a personal commitment to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. It was during one of the darkest days of the Civil War, and God used a surprising person to lead Abraham Lincoln to saving faith.
Abraham Lincoln, in the most powerful position in the world, was introduced to the Saviour by the White House seamstress; a precious black woman with a deep faith in Jesus Christ. Now, imagine Abraham Lincoln, the legendary President of the United States, brought to Jesus by a seamstress. But maybe that’s not such a surprise. See, when someone serves you, they have a unique, non-threatening, trusted position in your life – perhaps the most powerful position in the world for real.
Which leads us to our word for today from the Word of God in 2 Kings 5, beginning at verse 1. We’re talking about Naaman, a great military commander of Syria, but it says he was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy. Bands from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who was in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy” (vs. 3). As it turns out, he does go to the prophet, and his leprosy is healed.
Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl had said. And the king said, “By all means go” (vs. 5). So he goes out and finally gets his cure. Here’s the most powerful military figure maybe in that part of the world, being told where the answer is by a little Jewish servant girl. But he listened, just like Lincoln did. Now there’s an important and encouraging secret here. If you’re going to be in a position to get through to someone spiritually, be their servant. Being a servant to someone is the most powerful position in the world.
Can you think of someone you’re spiritually concerned about? I hope so, because Jesus has called you to be His ambassador. Think about this question: how could I serve him or her? How could I be there for him, for her? Sharing Christ isn’t just a matter of dumping the Gospel on someone. You need to get in a position where they’ll listen to you. You need to win the right to be heard. Serving that person may mean listening a lot before you start giving answers, helping them when they’re sick, when they’re hurting, when they’re broke. Maybe it will mean looking for moments of need, and then quietly finding a way to lighten their load. God will show you a way to serve, and serving will open the way for you to tell that person about your Jesus. Remember, it was a servant girl who was in the best position to lead Naaman to the cure.
I’m so thrilled that Abraham Lincoln is in heaven because of a woman who served him faithfully and served her Savior faithfully. There is no more disarming, powerful position on earth than to live as a servant in someone’s life – and as the personal ambassador of Jesus Christ to the person that you’re serving.
by Ron Hutchcraft
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