Restoring Your Household
by Brian Atwood
2 Chronicles 8:1-8:6
Notice the word “restored” in the following Bible passage:
2 Kings 8
1 – Then Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had RESTORED to life, saying, “Arise and go, you and your household, and sojourn wherever you can sojourn; for the LORD has called for a famine, and furthermore, it will come upon the land for seven years.”
2 – So the woman arose and did according to the saying of the man of God, and she went with her household and sojourned in the land of the Philistines seven years.
3 – It came to pass, at the end of seven years, that the woman returned from the land of the Philistines; and she went to make an appeal to the king for her house and for her land.
4 – Then the king talked with Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, saying, “Tell me, please, all the great things Elisha has done.”
5 – Now it happened, as he was telling the king how he had RESTORED the dead to life, that there was the woman whose son he had RESTORED to life, appealing to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, “My lord, O king, this is the woman and this is her son whom Elisha RESTORED to life.”
6 – And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed a certain officer for her, saying, “RESTORE all that was hers, and all the proceeds of the field from the day that she left the land until now.
What an encouraging and uplifting story about a woman who stood to lose her son and then her property, but had them both RESTORED!
Let’s gain insights from this story of the Shunammite woman for restoration in our household. We might apply it to the restoration of relationships, communication, trust, etc. Or, like the woman, our financial state made need to be restored. Whatever needs to be restored in a household, the Word of God gives us hope!
If you read the earlier incident in the life of Elisha and the Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:8-37) you see that she was extremely kind to Elisha. She had a room built on her house, furnished it, and fed the prophet every time he came through her area. This was no where demanded in the law but she wanted to help the man of God.
In response to her kindness Elisha told the woman that God would bless her with a child. She and her husband had not previously been able to have children and this was wonderful news to her.
But the son grows ill several years later and dies. Miraculously though, Elisha RESTORES her son to life.
The point we want to emphasize today is – it seems that God’s power was available in this woman’s life because she was in some measure being rewarded for her kindness to the man of God.
The story clearly teaches us that we should practice kindness in our household. Kindness has a very restorative effect!
Her name was Mrs. Thompson. As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie. Like most of the teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. But that was impossible, because there, in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.
Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn’t play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big “F” at the top of his papers.
At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise. Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners…he is a joy to be around.”
His second grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.”
His third grade teacher wrote, “His mother’s death has been hard on Teddy. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t seem to show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps are not taken.”
Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class.”
By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag.
Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting in on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.
Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, “Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my mom used to.” After the children left she cried for at least an hour. On that very day she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children.
Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the best students in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all of the children the same, Teddy became one of her “teacher’s pets”.
A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors.
He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.
Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was little longer – the letter was signed, “Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.”
The story doesn’t end there. There was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he’d met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years earlier and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.
Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore the bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.
They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, “Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.”
Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, “Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.”
Kindness. Pure and simple.
Kindness had a great impact on the lives of others. Most any relationship infused with kindness can be restored. One of the greatest things we can do at home to make our home life better is to practice kindness.
When our oldest daughter, who is now married, was four years old, she had learned a verse of scripture in the Christian preschool at our church. That night when her mother and I were having a disagreement, my voice must have been above it’s normal volume, because she walked up to me and said, “Daddy, be ye kind”.
Her preschool class had memorized Ephesians 4:32 that very week, “Be ye kind one to another…”
The Shunammite woman had her son RESTORED because the prophet of God had been the recipient of her kindness. All of us can have restoration in our household too – and it begins with something as simple as practicing kindness.
Not only did Elisha RESTORE her son to life, but he also forewarned her about the coming famine. It would be seven years in duration and she would need to relocate her household somewhere outside the boundaries of the corrective discipline of God.
The famine was the ongoing chastisement of God on the wickedness of Ahab and his descendants.
Elisha loved the woman and her family so much he wanted them to be spared the side-effects of famine.
Notice the way the woman embraced the change. She followed the instructions of the man of God without any apparent complaint.
Being willing to change is a key ingredient to RESTORING your household.
Change is not always easy to accept. Take the Shunammite’s move to the land of the Philistines. That couldn’t have been simple. Moving from one house across town to another is not simple.
Leaving our comfort zone can be challenging. But staying the same often leads to mediocrity and sometimes even puts our family at risk.
Did you know that when they first began to manufacture golf balls, they made the covers smooth? It was then discovered that after a ball had been roughed up they could get more distance out of it. So they started manufacturing them with dimpled covers.
So it is with life. Sometimes we need to make changes in how we do things in order to go farther.
A good Bible word for change is “repent”.
Take Revelation 2:5 for example, Christ’s words to the church at Ephesus: “Remember from where you have fallen, repent and do the first work…”
The Greek word for “repent” literally means “change your mind”. Then of course, a changed mind will result in a changed life.
So many households are in trouble because no on will repent. No one will “change their mind”. They stay in the same rut constantly and wonder why things don’t change.
Perhaps we fear we don’t have the ability to change. Sometimes we just don’t want to put forth the effort. But to paraphrase an old business addage, “If you keep doin’ what you been doin’ you’re gonna keep gettin’ what you been gettin'”.
If you want to keep bickering, fussing and having an overall unpleasant atmosphere in your home – then don’t repent. But if you’re tired of your home life giving you ulcers then somebody’s got to be willing to change. Let it begin with you!
Some might be quick to point out that the change made by the Shunammite woman didn’t do her any good. When she got back home after the famine her property had been confiscated by the state.
Never underestimate the power of Divine Providence!
“Providence” refers to the care exercised by God over His creation and His creatures.
It was clearly no coincidence that the king and Elisha’s servant were discussing the woman at the very time she appeared to make an appeal for the return of her property!
God had already been at work preparing the king’s heart to RESTORE not only her land, but also all the proceeds of any crops harvested there!
God knows the needs of your household as well. If you, like this Shunammite woman, will be the kind of person you need to be and make the changes God leads you to make, He will certainly do His part to RESTORE your household.
What are the needs of your household today that only God can meet?
Will you trust Him to meet them today, and are you willing to make changes in your household?