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Just Do It!
a sermon based on 2 Kings 5:1-14
By Dr. Robert Jacks,
reprinted by permission

Some things in life we can only learn by taking a leap of faith.

Remember the time when you learned how to ride the bicycle?

The day is still vividly I my mind when I went out with my father to learn how to ride it the proper way.

After wearing down my training wheels, I knew that I was ready to take them off.

Most of my friends could ride their bikes without training wheels already.

So, here we were, standing on the black mackadam of the parking lot. My dad helped me on my bike and said: "off you go!"

"Wait a minute," I shouted, scared,

"what do you mean: off I go?"

"Aren’t you going to give me instructions?

Aren’t you gonna give me the secret of bike-riding?"

But my dad was adamant: "there is no secret. You already know how to ride it. Just do it!"

‘Just do it!’ The words echoed in my mind and I tried to do it. God knows, I wanted to do it so bad, but I couldn’t get myself to start paddling. It was too simple, and yet too... difficult!

It wasn’t that I didn’t believe my dad.

I was sure it worked for him.

I was sure it worked for others.

But I was not so sure it worked for me.

So my dad did what all dad’s do: he tricked me into doing it.

He said: "o.k., I’m going to hold your bike while you ride it."

And after a while he let go for a while.

And then he said: "Now go by yourself!"

And I said, "I can’t!"

And he said: "you already did it."

"What do you mean?"

"I let go for a little while."

"You did?"


"And I did it by myself?"

"By yourself."

And guess what, I just did it! That was all the assurance I needed--I needed to know that I too could do it!

I think my story has something to do with the story of Naaman. I think Naaman’s story has something to do with you, with me, and all of us.


Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria

was a great man with his master and in high favor,

because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria.

He was a mighty man of valor.

Naaman was a great man. You could say Naaman was the Norman Schwartzkopf of the year 853.

Stormin’ Norman! -- Stormin Naaman!

You’d pick up a copy of Times magazine,

and there on the cover would be General Naaman,


you’d pick up a copy of US News & World Report,

and there on the cover would be General Naaman,

surrounded by Dick and Jerry, Jimmy and Ron, and George and Bill,

all flashing the V-for-victory sign,

looking proudly at Naaman

and grinning for all their worth!

You’d pick up a copy of Better Homes and Gardens

and I twould feature General Naaman

in front of his multi-million dollar estate

standing beside his Maserati, and his Porsche, outside a twenty-car garage.

Naaman was a great man, a really great man, a super great man!

But what most people didn’t notice--didn’t really notice-- all those photos,

in all his appearances,

General Naaman wore a white silk scarf around his neck.

And what most people didn’t know was...that scarf was a cover-up:

It was a cover-up for a spot--that every day grew bigger and bigger.

Naaman was a great man,

a mighty man of valor...but he was a leper.

Of course, the maid of the house, a little Israelite woman, she knew, and one day she discretely said to her mistress, "Y’know ma’am, if only Mr. Naaman could go see the prophet in Samaria. This man of God could cure...his problem."

At this point Naaman is grasping for straws. So when his wife told him about the great man of God, Elisha, he is on his way to Israel.

So off went Naaman.

bags of gold and sacks of silver piled high in his chariots,

off to see the prophet, the wonderful prophet of God.

Off to Elisha’s house he went.

Jumped from his chariot, ran to the front door, knocked three times,

and guess who came out?

It wasn’t Elisha.

It was one of Elisha’s students.

And the student simply said to Naaman--

General Naaman, mind you,

the great man,

the mighty man of valor--

He said to him, "go wash in the Jordan and you’ll be healed."

Imagine. Imagine!

Great Naaman with great expectations came for the great cure, and...what happened?

No hoopla, no trumpets, no dancing girls, and no...prophet--

just a simple theology student who said: "go wash!"

"I thought he would surely come out to me

and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God

and wave his hand over the place--and cure me!

I could have stayed home and washed in the

rivers of Damascus instead of this...Jordan!"

And Naaman turned on his Gucci heels and stormed off in a rage.

Still a great man


Until one of his servants comes to him and says: "Master, just do it!"

Now, can you see his dilemma?

Can you hear Naaman say to himself: "I can’t do it. It may work for others, but not or me"? Can you hear him saying: "what about my reputation? what will other people think?

What would the headlines say on the newsweek, the times magazine covers: "Great War Hero Takes A Dip,"

"General Naaman is all wet."

Naman, you’d have to take off your festal garments

and stand before all in simple humility. Naaman, you’d have to take the plunge and humble yourself.

But then there are the other voices in Naaman’s heart. The voices that say; "What does is profit you to gain the whole world and loose your life? Just do it!"

"Unless you become like a little child you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven"--just do it, humble yourself!

"Humble yourself before the Lord and he will lift you up"--just do it, Naaman!


And in our NT lesson this morning, Jesus says: (12:24) Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (12:25) Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Come on Naaman, just do it, humble yourself. Don’t let the glamour and the fame of this world blind you to the true life, the real fame and the lasting glamour that the kingdom of God brings. Do it, give up the illusion of happiness and embrace the happy life.

So here you are at the crossroads, what’s it going to be, Naaman?

Death by holding on to your idea of greatness, your influence in this society...

or birth by drowning that illusion?

Building a life on the sinking sands of what others expect of you, of trust in your riches, and fame...

or a life on the solid rock of faith, trust in God, and life eternal?

You can do it Naaman, yes you can too, you just don't know it yet. Remember the thing about learning to ride the bike? You can do it!

Just do it!


Run on down to the Jordan, Naaman.

Run on down that hill.

And don’t ever forget

the grace of God always runs downhill to meet you!

Just do it my friend.

Do it!

Just do it!

And...for God’s sake....For God’s sake...and for our own sake...take us along with you. Amen.