Lesson 4: Partnering with God

Focus Scripture: 2 Kings 6:8-16 (NRSV)

Examining the Scripture

In this story about the Prophet Elisha, we see how God is operating behind the scenes on behalf of God’s people. Elisha was a prophet during a time when the King of Aram was at war with Israel. Every time the King of Aram would plot a surprise move against Israel, Elisha would discern the plan and go warn the King of Israel to be on the alert. It wasn’t long before the King of Aram discovered that Elisha was the culprit. So, the King of Aram ordered his troops to seize Elisha in the city of Dothan. When Elisha’s servant got up early the next morning and went outside, the King of Aram’s troops, horses, and chariots were everywhere. Today’s scripture tells us what happened next. The moral of this story is that when God uses partners to redeem his people, God sometimes fights the battle from on high, and when the battle is over, the enemy doesn’t even know what hit him!

Questions

  1. What does it mean to partner with God?
  2. Give examples of what it means for us to do our little part by stepping out on faith and letting God do the rest? How has this manifested in the present day?
  3. Discuss how this passage uses the concepts of blindness and sight.

 

Perspective[1]

Right around Thanksgiving, Carrie Mae helped Sister Hilda sponsor a drive to promote little random acts of kindness.

“Go out and amaze me,” Carrie Mae told the students who had come to the church from the surrounding neighborhoods.

She challenged the students as she prayed for them and sent them out two-by-two to bless other people with acts of compassion. Students from both Oakwood and Middlesex executed an array of good deeds.

One team initiated a campaign to write “thank you” letters to police officers, teachers, parents and others who had gone above and beyond the call to keep them safe. Another team stuffed candy “hugs” and get-well cards into decorated bags and distributed them at the local hospital. One of the more verbal groups wrote poems about respect, honesty, and common courtesy – they tacked them to the church’s bulletin board in the lobby. Two students wrote a blog post about being thoughtful of the rights and feelings of others.

A couple of the teams spent the day at a local nursing home listening to the residents and being present just to ease their loneliness.

Two teams spent several hours at the local grocery establishment picking up trash around the parking lot and opening doors for people who were entering the store. Every shopper received a hearty hello or goodbye. Teams also helped customers load their purchases into their cars.

One team even made a list of teachers they knew and delivered a bright red, polished apple to every single one of them.

Later that evening, the teams shared stories about their actions. Everyone had taken pictures, which they posted on Facebook and other social media. The campaign went viral.

Church in Community Exercises

  1. What is the relative difficulty of dealing with each suggestion presented in the Perspective?
  2. What are your church’s current strengths and weaknesses in promoting random acts of kindness as a community outreach ministry?
  3. What resources would be needed to execute such a ministry in your community?

 

References

Reed, Lorrie C. (2017). The Agape Alternative. Chicago, IL: Create Space.

[1] This vignette is adapted from The Agape Alternative, by Lorrie C. Reed (2017).

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