Updated: Aug 10, 2022
Read: 2 Kings 5:1-5; Mark 5:1-20
This week, I heard about the deaths of two well-loved men. Both were in their 90s, and both brought joy to others with their words. First, I heard that Vin Scully, renowned Los Angeles Dodgers' radio broadcaster had passed away. Mr. Scully retired in 2016, having served the Dodgers for 67 years. His comforting voice was loved by many, and the articles I read about his broadcasting work lauded him for knowing when to speak and when to let the circumstances in a game be enjoyed without commentary. Allowing the listeners to take in a prominent moment. Sometimes, silence is golden. Scully was involved in several noteworthy games including the one when Henry Aaron hit home run 715. The one which broke Babe Ruth's historic record. He said on that occasion: "What a marvelous moment for baseball; what a marvelous moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia; what a marvelous moment for the country and the world," he said. "A Black man is getting a standing ovation in the deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol. And it is a great moment for all of us, and particularly for Henry Aaron." Vin Scully also announced the game when the Brooklyn Dodgers--the Dodgers name prior to their move to Los Angeles--won their only World Series in 1955. The bridesmaids of Brooklyn had finally become the bride. Scully loved his work, and he loved telling stories. He loved the Dodgers. The joy of sharing what he knew was apparent to his fans who loved listening to him.
Second, I heard last night that Stuart Briscoe had passed away of natural causes at his home. Briscoe had served faithfully as the pastor of Elmbrook Church in Wisconsin for thirty years and remained involved with the church in the years that followed his stepping down. In addition, Stuart Briscoe was an author and evangelist, and he served with his wife in their ministry, "Telling The Truth". Those who knew Briscoe described him as a humble man who lived his life with integrity. He was plain spoken. For example, he said that time shouldn't be spent figuring out how many days Jonah could have lived within the sea creature, as is debated by many; rather, time should be spent talking about the greatness of Jonah's God. Two men whose words and stories, each in their own way, brought joy to those who heard their words.
In the Bible, we are introduced to many people who used their words to speak about the God they had come to know and love. When they encountered what is true concerning God, they told others, and the result was often great joy! They simply shared their stories or those true accounts found in the scriptures, 2 Peter 1:16-21. In 2 Kings 5, we meet a young girl who was willing to relate a truth she knew about her God. She wanted to help her master who had a need. He had leprosy. God has so many unique ways of getting the story of Who He is out so that people can hear it, and this little vignette tucked into the Bible surely is an example of God's grace popping up in strange and unexpected places. Here she was. This unnamed maiden had been captured and taken from her home. She was in a strange land and served as a house servant. We don't know everything she knew about the Living God, but it was clear to her that her master had a need, and she seemed to have no doubt that God would be able to meet that need. I love the fact that her world didn't revolve around herself to such a degree that she didn't see her master's need. She was not embittered because of her circumstances; in fact, her desire was that he would be healed by God. She told her story. Whether brief or detailed. Her God was able to do what no man could do. The result? Her master not only found healing, it is very possible that he also came to know this young girl's God, 2 Kings 5:14-15. Can you imagine the joy in the master's house when he came home without leprosy? All because this unknown young girl spoke the truth she knew.
In Mark 5:1-20, we meet a man whose present circumstances were dreadful. He was so fierce that men tried to place him in chains. Sadly, he broke those bonds and spent his time screaming and cutting himself. Then, as the song says, ‘Jesus touched him, and Oh the joy that flooded his soul!’ The scriptures say that when Jesus cast out the demons, the man who had been heretofore wild and fierce sat clothed and in his right mind. What a story of grace and restoration this man had. No wonder, he wanted to stay close to Jesus. He longed to get in the boat with the Savior, but wait. Jesus said no. The Lord wanted him to tell his story to those in his area. Can you imagine his before & after life? He was once violent and broken, but after the Master's touch, he was made new and healed. There were people there right in his backyard whom Jesus wanted to know this man's story; so, there he stayed, and he told those he encountered what Jesus had done for him, and they marveled, Mark 5:19-20.
What scriptural truths have changed our lives? What has God done for us that someone needs to know? Let's use our words to spread truth and joy in a world where darkness and hopelessness is often on display. Lord, Help us to love telling the stories You give us to share.