There is an instructive account involving four hungry lepers found in 2Kings 7:3-16. The year is approximately 850 BC and there is a severe famine. Four lepers stand outside the city gate of Samaria and debate their best options.
They reason that if they remain where they are, they will starve to death. If they go inside the city, they will starve to death there. If they go to the camp of the Arameans they may be killed, but they might simply be made prisoners of war. With three dreadful options to choose from, the four lepers take their chances setting out to the camp of the Arameans.
What happens next is amazing. The Lord causes the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses, which makes them think they are being attacked. As a result, “they left the camp as it was and ran for their lives” (2 Kings 7:6, 7).
You can imagine the astonishment of these four lepers when they arrive at the camp and not a soul is there. You can also imagine their excitement once they realize that all of the resources of the camp—food, gold, silver, clothing, etc.—are theirs for the taking.
The lepers do what most of us would do in a similar situation—they feast, and then they squirrel away the valuables. But, eventually, something awakens these lepers to the bigger picture. Having satisfied themselves, they turn to one another and say, “We’re not doing right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves…Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace” (2 Kings 7:9).
As I think about the reasons why I feel compelled to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others, I think of this story. The lepers certainly didn’t owe the palace any favours. These men were outcasts—and yet, the predicament of the people was so dire, and the remedy was so accessible, that they had to share what they had found.
This not unlike our current context. The world around us is starving spiritually, but we’ve found a feast. It’s not that Christians are better or smarter than everyone else. Certainly, there was nothing superior about the four lepers. They had simply found something which could save themselves and others and so they told the story.
I’ve shared the Gospel with enough people in my life to detect their suspicion of motives. “What’s he trying to do?”, “Why is he trying to convince me of this?”, “Why does this matter to him so much?”
This account provides part of the answer: We’ve enjoyed a feast and we want to share it with others.
Jesus has satisfied us, and we long for Him to do the same for others.
I found it interesting that the palace didn’t immediately believe the good news. The king thought it was too good to be true. He was skeptical. Thankfully, the king’s skepticism didn’t keep him from investigating the claim.
After carefully investigating what had been reported, the city emptied, the food was found, and the people were saved.
Have a listen for yourself (below). A feast is near by. But be sure to share what you find.