CHAIN REACTIONS -- Good and bad
(From a sermon of Bro. Julius Adewumi -- 5/30/97)
I am going to talk about chains of reaction. A chain is thus: when you pull something, it pulls another thing, and that other thing pulls another thing, and so on. In life therefore, if you say something, which causes another person to be offended and he does something which causes a quarrel or a fight between families, that is a chain of reaction -- a bad chain. If you do something nice to somebody, and he so much remembers it and he goes forth and does something nice also, and the two families become family-friends that is also a chain of reaction -- a good chain.
Let's see an example in the bible of chains of reaction which we can emulate. In 2Kings chapter five, I want to point out the story of this maid-servant who brought God to the whole family of Naaman the leper.
"Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man of valour, but he was a leper. And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife." (2Kgs.5:1-2)
Listen to this, young people. Even a little girl can bring great glory to God. She didn't begin to preach great sermons to this house. It's not that she was so full of the word of God that she preached a sermon to all the people. No. So, don't wait till you are so full of the bible before you speak for Jesus. The simple thing this young girl did, started a chain of reaction. She didn't hide her faith in the God of Israel. She was called a little maid; she could be 9 year old, or 13 year old, or somewhere there. Naaman decided this little maid would serve his wife, instead of perhaps selling her with the other captive slaves. This little maid waited on Naaman's wife. Listen to what this maid said after observing the man of the house.
"And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy." (2Kgs.5:3).
That was all she said. Little statement like that, and she brought glory to God, as a chain reaction was started. What she said couldn't be shaken off casually. She didn't begin to rationalize the response she might get. Someone else might think they would say "if your God is so great, why did he let you be a captive slave? why did he let us, Syria, rule over your people Israel?" She was not thinking about that! She just said what she believed. She believed in that prophet because she has seen or heard the prophet healed people. Think about it. It should have been a shameful thing to talk about, that a big man like Naaman was a leper. No maid servant or little girl should ever be talking about it. They would hush her up. The disease she saw in her master she should not say anything about. When she said what she said, they would have wanted to say "shut up your mouth!" However, it struck a note in the wife of Naaman. She just couldn't keep it off her mind. "Maybe it is true! Maybe this prophet is the solution!"
For instant, you kids in school, you may be a little girl or boy in grade school. You may see a teacher or principal of the school smoking cigarette or something like that. This man is big , yes, but smoking cigarette. You can't say to him "You are going to hell!" No! You don't say that! All you may say is "Sir, you know Jesus can help you with that cigarette if you really want to quit". You only need to say it to the man once, and not every time you see the man. If that is all you say, it may open the eye of this man to think: "You know something, I never thought about that". He may not say it to you there and then, but the statement will linger in his mind for long. Very soon, he will fall on his knees and call upon that Jesus. It is a similar thing which happened in this story. A chain of reaction was started when this maid spake these words. This is what I am pointing out here. The maid said "Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy." She shouldn't say it over and over again, otherwise they would think she was mocking the man. She should say it with the usual respect she had for the boss. What she said had registered in the heart of the wife of Naaman. She could not hush her to shut up. They could have tried all doctors with no hope. Why wouldn't they listen to the maid. If a prophet could help, why not try the prophet. That is what I call "a chain of reaction". They went and told the general, and they went and told the king of Syria. We know the whole story. Naaman and his family became worshippers of the God of Israel when the miracle was performed by God through Elisha the prophet.
That is a good chain. People can start a bad chain by words of mouth also. A single person could say something bad that could start a war between two countries. A person could say something bad in a place about another country, which could be reflected upon until the hearers hate the speaker's country and a war is started between them. Words can be powerful, therefore choose your words right. This maid spoke few words which brought Naaman from Syria to Israel before the prophet. After the miracle was performed, Naaman said he would only worship one God from now on -- the God of Israel.
That was the glory this maid brought to God. Naaman's family began to worship the God of Israel. Therefore, testifying to the glory of God is one way you can start a chain of reaction. Just by speaking what you believe. You don't need to deliver a whole sermon. Just tell them what the Lord has done for you.
This leads me to the book of Ecclesiasts. (Eccl.11:1). When you testify, you are giving out something. Actually I began to read this passage, then the Lord led me to this maid servant in second kings. I did not realize the link between the two passages at first. When I read Naaman story again, I said "waoh, what a chain this maid started, which led Naaman and the king of Syria to know about a prophet and the God of Israel." Now the Lord said "look at chapter eleven of Ecclesiasts: "Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days." (Eccl.11:1) . What does "cast your bread upon the waters" mean? It means, do good, give! Don't look back, just give. Whether giving out the word of God to folks or material things to people, it is very easy to get discouraged. For example, when believers give out gospel tracts in the streets, you don't know which of them will bear fruit. The people may never read it; but just one person may read it, and turn to the Lord. The Lord says "cast your bread upon the waters". This is for every one. I myself get discouraged at times. I have been sending out literatures and magazines over the years, and many never write to even acknowledge that they read them. I kept sending it. Sometimes some literatures are returned by the postmaster, that the man has changed address. These are people who never responded, and now they have also changed address; the postage money was wasted. I usually delete such address from my mailing list anyway. But the bible is saying, don't give up. Cast thy bread upon the waters. There was a woman I had been sending the literatures to for more than a year with no response. Suddenly she wrote to me, and said "waoh, I read this literature and was blessed; why have I not received parts 1, 2, 3 & 4?" I said to myself, I have been sending to her every time; she either was not receiving them or not reading them. She got one which caught her attention and she asked "where are the parts 1,2,3 of this series. " If I had stopped after parts 1 & 2, and said "this fellow is not responding" she most likely would not see part 5 which caught her attention. That is why the Lord said, keep on giving it.
The scripture went further and said "Give a portion to seven," (you may say, if I give six, that is enough, but the Lord says, give seven), "and also to eight;" (that is, don't even stop at seven, give to eighth), for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon earth." Just keep on giving. (Eccl.11:2).
"If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth"; It's like saying, keep sending it. Though it seems no one is responding, but it's building a heavy cloud, which will soon fall down rain. This verse is sweet. It means, keep building up moisture; suddenly the rain is going to fall, for the cloud is now heavy. Whatever you are doing, keep on casting your bread upon the waters. Literally it means, human beings are like waters which flows around, we 'll meet again, and the good you have done will come back to help you at the other end of the river. Similarly, build up moisture in the air; very soon it will fall rain because the clouds are getting heavy.
"And if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be." This verse means, if you plant here you can come here to find the fruits of your efforts. Where you invest, there you will see your investment. If you do not sow you will not find any fruit.
"He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap." (Eccl.11:4). The wind in my example is like the response I do not get from the tracts. If because no one responded you stop giving out the gospel, you are observing the wind. One day you may hear a testimony that one guy you gave a tract turned to the Lord, though you received no response. Then you will have been a fool for stopping the tracts.
This reminds me of my experience at Arizona State University when I was still a student and a graduate assistant. I gave out gospel tracts to some of the students I instructed. One student went and reported to the head of the department that I was preaching my religion in the class. The head of department threatened to terminate my teaching assistant job if not that he had no substitute. He warned me never to do that anymore because it was illegal, he said. I was shaking internally that day. I simply prayed. But the Lord said "tell them for me!" I got a letter from a minister and the bold print on the envelop was "Tell them for me". I knew the Lord was speaking to me. "Don't give up. Tell them for me." Few days later, I used boldness to talk to one guy among my students and this guy gave his life to Christ and was saved, and delivered from many oppressions. You can see why the devil made me to be threatened some days before. The devil wanted to stop me before I get to the guy. But the Lord said "Don't give up". Cast thy bread upon the waters. Someone is just waiting for you to get to him or her. Don't stop before you reach him or her.
We don't know how the Lord is going to do it. We don't know who is going to be saved. Therefore keep on doing the work of the Lord. Keep on giving. "As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knoweth not the works of God who maketh all.
In summary, the bible says, "In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good." (Eccl.11:6).
Now this is like investment. Invest in the morning, and in the evening also. Keep on giving because God commanded it. Whether sharing, keep sharing. Don't stop on six, and don't stop on seven, keep sowing.
We have mentioned the good chains. There are bad chains also which we must keep ourselves away from. Anything which can throw someone into a trouble over and over again is a bad chain. Better don't do it. Think ahead and see what can happen if you do somthing: years and years of never ending troubles. Don't pull the first chain!
Gossip can cause bad chain. Gossiping about someone until the whole neighborhood knows about it and they now hate that person. Don't start it, and don't propagate it!
Another thing which can start a bad chain is what God said: "touch not the unclean thing".
If God says something is unclean, don't touch it. It may cause you a trouble which you will not realize. Let's give an example. Look at the story of King David.
We all know the story of David with Bathsheba. David saw a naked woman bathing in her own backyard from his roof. Now David couldn't keep his mind from what he saw, until he pulled the first chain: he sent and found the woman and called her in for adultery. From there, he killed; from there, there was trouble in David's household for many years, because of God's judgment. Because he pulled the first chain. Don't do it! That is why the bible said "touch not the unclean thing."
Some people in high school started to smoke cigarette, "Oh it's just for fun. It's cool!" They did it. Now they are locked in -- addicted. They shouldn't have started it. Don't do it!
They may have started with one stick which they think won't hurt them, though everyone says it's bad for you. Now they are coughing, they have cancer. It's too late! Don't touch the unclean thing. That is how people can start a chain of reaction which they may regret. Run away from it. Like Joseph in Egypt. Portiphar's wife pressured Joseph to lie with her. He refused and when she grabbed him, he ran away leaving his garment behind. He was better off, though it landed him in jail. "Flee from every appearance of evil".
Touch not the unclean thing. You might think it's a little sin today and God will forgive you. NO! it can cause a chain of reaction which you will never know will go that far, and that many years. King David could have said "I got the woman, didn't I". But that was not the end of it. He also got trouble which lasted many years.
When the bible says something is wrong, don't do it! "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
By witnessing or simple statement such as spoken by the maid servant of Naaman, a good chain can be started to bring glory to God.
Every sin that may seem so little, don't touch it. It does not end there! It's like a trap set for a bird. The mama bird warns the little bird "don't go there". But the little bird may think, "this little bean won't hurt me." But it is a bait to a trap; it is the only visible part of the trap; the begining of a bad chain! As the little bird picks and taps on the bean, it pulls a chain and the weight fell on the little bird. What do you think the mama bird will say? "I told him! I told him".
The devil always use the tiny sin to pull the bigger sin. It does not end there.
So run away from the chain of trouble. Amen.
I pray that the readers will get wisdom from this exhortation, and that they will repent from sins and watch unto prayer. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Bro. Julius Adewumi
Gospel Distribution Ministry