She was a young Israelite woman, who had been captured by the Syrian army and was now a slave in the house of Naaman. She felt empathy toward her master, who was captain of the Syrian army but who was afflicted with leprosy. She said to Naaman’s wife, “Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy” (2 Kings 5:3). A bold promise on Elisha’s behalf, to be sure, but also a statement which revealed her compassion and her desire for Naaman to get the help he needed.
This young woman, whose name we don’t know, was mentioned by two speakers in our most recent general conference:
- Michael T. Ringwood: “[God] knows our hearts, our names, and what He needs us to do…. [He] trusted a young woman, a servant, to testify of a living prophet so Naaman could be healed” (“For God So Loved Us“).
- Susan H. Porter: “We often focus on the servants who convinced Naaman to bathe in the river Jordan, as the prophet Elisha directed, but Naaman would not have even been at Elisha’s door without ‘a little maid'” (“Lessons at the Well“).
I think we can learn a few lessons from this young woman:
- Even in adverse circumstances, we can notice the afflictions of the people around us and care about their well-being.
- Sometimes we are not the right person to solve the problem, but we know who can. Our privilege in those circumstances, is to connect the needy person with someone who can help them.
- We may be at our best when we seek the well-being of other people with no thought of recognition for ourselves.
When I think of this young woman, I’m reminded of Abish, the Lamanite servant who assembled a crowd to witness the miraculous conversion of their king and queen through the ministry of Ammon (Alma 19:16-29). I also think of the other Ammon, who told King Limhi that he personally couldn’t translate ancient records, but he knew someone who could (Mosiah 8:6-14). And I think of Zoram, who commanded the Nephite armies, but who went with his sons to ask advice from Alma, because he had “heard that [Alma] had the spirit of prophecy” (Alma 16:5-6).
In all of these cases, the individual was more concerned with meeting a need than with getting credit. They recognized that someone else had a gift, and they gratefully sought help from that individual.
Today, I will strive to be attuned to the gifts of other people. When I see a need, I will think about who is uniquely positioned to fulfill that need. Like the young Israelite woman, I will connect people in need with those who can help them.