Cleaning for Jesus

As we seek to share the good news, I think we all want to find ways to reach people with great influence. 

In history, there was a famous general who came to know the Lord in a place where it was very difficult to worship the one true God. The name of the first person who reached out to him was unknown, but through the very little information we do have, we know her daily life was full of house chores. The story I’m talking about is found in 2 Kings 5:1-18.

How Elisha healed Namman in the Jordan River is a familiar Sunday school story. However, we usually focus on the second part of the story. You can find a picture of this big bearded Persian-looking man bathing in some kids’ Bibles. But before Namman found Elisha, how did he know about the prophet? It was a maid of Namman’s wife who suggested the idea. 

“Now bands of raiders 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 is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” — 2 Kings 5:2-3 (NIV)

Why would a high-ranking general listen to a young servant girl who had been trafficked from a small country? Looking at her gender, age and position, there was absolutely nothing that would given this girl credibility. What else could Namman have seen in her that made her voice so important? What she did most often would probably have been cleaning, cooking and serving. Bingo! I realised that that was her secret of successfully reaching out. Through all the work, she must have shown an attitude which was so impressive to her masters that they trusted what she said. 

I imagine this girl with a big smile while she cleaned. I see her showing kindness to all; she didn’t take advantage of others. She was hardworking and trustworthy. You would never see her sneak out extra food in her pockets. Everyone loved her. And the most special thing about her was that she liked to talk about this God of Israel. The story of parting the Red Sea might have been her all-time favourite. She had never forgotten and she fully believed this amazing God while living in a difficult place as a slave. 

On the ship, we call the hotel service (aka cleaning) team ‘Angels.’ When I first joined the team, I was shocked by the cleaning procedures. Each morning at 06:00, these angels were flying (well, running up and down the many decks) to all corners of the ship to clean with great detail. Every day we folded clothes and cleaned more than 200 toilets. There were days I wondered: Am I a missionary? All I do is clean. However, through cleaning God changed my attitude. One of my leaders reminded me that we were cleaning God’s house. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” — Luke 16:10 (NIV). God could see how we served and actually, people could also see. I heard many times how visitors were amazed by how the hotel and catering staff served on board. 

While we are trying to find ways to do the ‘big things’ and win the ‘big people’ for Jesus, let us start small. Let us learn from Namman’s young servant. Let us do our daily routine with Christ. Let us cook and clean among those who do not know Him. Then, when the opportunity comes, we will share with boldness about the goodness of our Lord Jesus Christ.  

Ivy, previously a city girl rushing into the Taipei metro everyday, now enjoys walking around beautiful villages at Lake Tanganyika, Zambia. She likes to listen to people's stories and write newsletters (really a rare species). Her dream is to become the shortest giant in the world. 

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