#207: What Can We Learn From A Courageous Slave Girl?

Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known

What can we learn from a courageous slave girl with a simple message? As I’ve said before, I love studying lesser known characters in the Bible. Few of them are “lesser known” than the young woman described in 2 Kings 5:2-3:

Slave Girl Naaman

“Aram had gone on raids and brought back from the land of Israel a young girl who served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, ‘If only my master would go to the prophet who is in Samaria, he would cure him of his skin disease.’”

Her place in history is short and not even marked with her name. We only know that she was a young Jewish girl taken captive in a Syrian army raid. She was forced to be the personal servant of the wife of Naaman, the Syrian army commander.

While Naaman was a highly-regarded military commander, he suffered from leprosy. Leprosy was incurable and made Naaman a societal outcast.

This young Jewish girl, serving as a slave to her mistress, boldly suggested that Naaman could be cured of his leprosy if only he would go and visit God’s prophet (Elisha), who lived in Samaria.

4 Lessons from a Courageous Slave Girl

Despite her brief appearance in the pages of scripture, we can take four important lessons from this unnamed slave girl.

  1. She accepted her situation without bitterness or rancor. We see no indication that being torn away from her family and forced to serve her captors made her bitter. In fact, this situation describes someone with a remarkably positive attitude.
  2. She retained her faith in God. She does not curse God for placing her in this situation. Rather, her actions demonstrate a strong faith in God’s power and grace.
  3. She acted on her faith. When the opportunity to act on her faith arose she took it. Her faith did not remain hidden in a closet but was shared with her captors as she witnessed to them.
  4. She wished her master would experience God’s healing grace. You can sense caring, perhaps even love, in her plea for her master to be healed of his suffering.

2 Important Conclusions

This unnamed young girl didn’t have much of an opportunity to serve the Lord, but when her opportunity arose, she laid ahold of it and acted. Without her courage, Naaman would have remained a leper the rest of his life.

  • How often do we allow an opportunity to serve the Lord slip away because we are afraid or we think the task is too small?

Along with courage, I see a young woman who was gracious. Despite her trials, she reflected God’s love to her captors. She did not stop serving God, nor did she become bitter because of her circumstances.

  • How often do we look away from someone who is struggling because we think they deserve it? How often do we refuse to share God’s love and mercy because someone disagrees with us?

Hurting people surround us in the workplace. As Christian leaders, we have the opportunity, no, the responsibility, to be courageous and gracious as we share God’s love and compassion with those who need it most.

If not us, who will shine God’s light on a darkened world?

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you been placed in difficult situations in which you were able to shine the light of God’s love and grace to an unbeliever? What happened?

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Category: Personal Development | Dependence on God

 

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18 thoughts on “#207: What Can We Learn From A Courageous Slave Girl?

  1. I have never heard of this passage in the Bible before, but I’m glad you found such profound meaning in it to share with us! The slave girl was very loving to her master and it’s touching to see that she focused on his circumstances rather than her own because of her trust in God’s faithful goodness. Your question “How often do we refuse to share God’s love and mercy because someone disagrees with us?” got me thinking about how our country is in such a time of political upset and turbulence that we often forget the basic rule: Love others. I’ll admit I’ve gotten so caught up in my own opinions during arguments that I forgot to just listen and love the person on the other side. “The ones who are hardest to love usually need it the most.”

  2. I thought this was a great article!
    It makes me reflect on my own life and think about how many times I have let small insignificant things ruin my day or happiness in that moment. This slave girl had so little yet she was such a light in so many ways and she simply let the Lord use her where she was. This story is inspiring because even though her circumstances were far from ideal, she still clung to her faith and believed that God had a plan for her life.

    • I agree – the story of the slave girl is inspiring because we often turn away from opportunities to serve God but she maintained her strength and her faith despite her situation. She wasn’t about to have a pity party because of what had happened to her!

  3. This is very interesting and relatable for me! I loved your question of, “How often do we allow an opportunity to serve the Lord slip away because we are afraid or we think the task is too small?”

    Even in school, it can be a hard place to serve the Lord because most people are busy with schoolwork, tests, extra curriculars etc…I have personally thought that if I try to serve the Lord, that my act would be too “small”. However, learning from the Slave Girl’s experience, no matter the size of our actions, it is the intent that matters and the fact that we are trying to serve the Lord. I hope that I am able to be strong in my actions for God, even if they are small.

    • Kaki – So very true – the size of our actions is far less important than our intentions. If our intention is to serve the Kingdom then every act (even a cup of water, Matthew 10:42) is an act of service.

  4. I loved this weeks post! Even though I grew up in the church and am familiar with most Bible studies, I have never looked into this one. I think the slave girl is such a great example for how we should live. Her faith in God is an amazing example for us, because despite her not-so-great circumstances she still clung to God and stood strong in her faith–even wishing her master could experience it. That’s pretty incredible. The slave girl is such a great example to me, because I have been dealt a better hand than her and sometimes struggle to be as strong in my faith as her. I agree with you, it is our responsibility to share God’s love and compassion and I want to work on doing that more often.

    • Allison – I know what you mean. I too have struggled in my faith at times. Then I see people who have so much less who are happy, full of joy, and love for the Lord. I realize I take much for granted and have much to be thankful for! When I get back into this place of thankfulness it’s easy to share God’s love and compassion with others.

  5. Wow, I really enjoyed this post for the week! I too love learning more about stories in the Bible that are less common because they always serve as new and refreshing lessons. When I first read about this story I immediately thought about how we can learn a lot from people who come from different walks of life and from those that seem so different from us like the master and the slave. This story was also a great reminder that shows when you truly believe in God you will want to act courageously for him and you won’t be afraid to do so. Living a genuine life with Christ will only inspire kind actions and hope because it will be easy to see that there is so much more to live for and that the tough situations we often encounter don’t matter much at all.

    • Kelsey,
      So true – there is much we can learn from people that are different from us if we will just keep an open mind and reflect the love of Christ back to them!

  6. In this post, I thought many important points were addressed in regards to how we are to live out our faith. This unnamed slave girl exemplifies exactly what it means to live a Christian life, as a testimony to people in ancient times as well as people still today. In Matthew 5:44, it is written that we should “love our enemies”. This slave girl did just that and so much more. She showed how to be content with her circumstances, even when they weren’t the best, and teaches us that even in times of hardship and oppression, God is still good! Now it’s not always easy to accept oppression or why we are having to face it, but when we turn to God and praise him for our place in His kingdom, we better recognize how we fit into his eternal kingdom and stray away from solely focusing on our worldly position.

  7. I really like the first two lessons mentioned. All to often when we are put in a position where our faith in God can be tested and strengthened, we choose to instead curse the situations we are put in. In James 1: 2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. When we complain we often miss an opportunity. One example is when you pray for patience, God isn’t going to just give you patience, he is going to give you opportunities to be patient.

    • Great point Ben. God often gives us opportunities to develop the very thing we pray for! I love your example of praying for patience and having God put us in situations where we have to exercise patience! So true.

  8. How many of us could show the same grace and caring as this slave girl? I am reminded of President Nelson Mandela inviting one of his former prison guards to his inauguration. Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27 “…Love your enemies…”

    • John,

      Yes, grace and caring. A great testimony to a Christian life. I would love to know more about the special relationship that developed between Mandela and this prison guard. I bet it is fascinating story.

  9. I thought that you brought up important points when you engaged with the Scripture. As Paul writes in Philippians 4:12, he learned to be content in all situations. I believe it is our duty to remain obedient despite our circumstances, which is something that this slave girl lived out. This is not to say that you accept oppression, but rather that you accept your role in God’s kingdom rather than you worldy one. We must prioritize the eternal in contrast with what we experience here on earth.

    • Jesse,
      I like the way you put this, “It is our duty.” Yes, as Christians it is our duty to let our light shine before men. Sadly, many Christians (me included) often forget that instruction!