A pleasant irony is found in the story of the Four Lepers of 2 Kings 7. Unwelcome in their own besieged and starving city they decided to try their luck with the enemy-what did they have to lose? Thus, they wandered into a massive freshly abandoned camp. Taking advantage of the situation, they feasted on the food and plundered the valuables. Then their religion kicked in. They admitted to each other: “We are not doing right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves” (2Kg.7:9a). This is a magnanimous gesture. After all, nearby Samaria was breaking out into cannibalism and the king had given up in despair. What else would these four fellow countrymen (albeit lepers) do but to share the blessings. Part two of verse nine reveals their true motives: “If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.”
The world is partially right when it says that success is built on skill, hard work and luck. However, these lepers understood that that trifecta had nothing to do with this—this was pure grace. Pure grace that, if they were not careful, came with a curse—Share it or lose the blessings! In pragmatic terms, kept to themselves it would all eventually rot, anyway. Also, the enemy might return, for all they knew. But to share it would restore the fortune of the city and provide a future supply of help for lepers and all in need. In spiritual terms they understood that Samaria was already suffering heavily under God’s curse. Until that day it included them. Tomorrow it would return, and it would be their fault. Worse things may befall them. Though slow to act, the city was enriched by the good news from the lepers. Spiritually speaking we were lost lepers. One day we decided to leave a ‘city’ in which our souls were besieged and starving. We took a leap of faith by entering a camp where we were ‘enemies.’ Instead of finding it abandoned, be found it full of gracious, welcoming souls. We were healed, clothed, and have long since feasted on its rich food from heaven. I wonder if it might be time to look back at the lost and starving ‘city’ and say with our ancient leper friends: “We are not doing right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves.” What have we got to lose?