II Kings 5:16 (AMP)
Elisha said, As the Lord lives, before Whom I stand, I will accept none. He urged him to take it, but Elisha refused.
Naaman had just been healed from leprosy by obeying the instructions Elisha asked him to follow. He was ready to lavish Elisha with money and gifts. But he says, “I will accept none.”
In the book of Matthew, Jesus is giving the twelve disciples specific instructions to minister to the people of the house of Israel.
Matthew 10:8-11 (AMP)
8Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely (without pay) you have received, freely (without charge) give. 9Take no gold nor silver nor [even] copper money in your purses (belts); 10And do not take a provision bag or a wallet for a collection bag for your journey, nor two undergarments, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the workman deserves his support (his living, his food). 11And into whatever town or village you go, inquire who in it is deserving, and stay there [at his house] until you leave [that vicinity].
It was not acceptable for prophets to work for the Lord in exchange for money or gifts. Prophets were a vessel that God used to speak His Word and provide healing to His people. Elisha knew this and acted according to the trainings he received. But what happened to Gehazi?
II Kings 5:20 (AMP)
But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master spared this Naaman the Syrian, in not receiving from his hands what he brought. But as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.
Gehazi proceeds to run after Naaman’s chariot and finally catches up to him. He tells him that Elisha has sent him to collect some money and garments for two young men of the sons of the prophets that have just come from the hill country of Ephraim. Naaman was pleased to give him what he thought was a request from Elisha.
Gehazi was on a path of unrighteousness;
What example was Gehazi showing to his servants and the others around him? Here is a servant of Elisha and doing all the wrong things in the Lord’s sight.
When Gehazi returns, Elisha asks, “Where have you been?” Gehazi responds, “Your servant went nowhere.” He tries to outwit his master but his master knew otherwise of his coming and going.
Genesis 3:9 (AMP)
But the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, Where are you?
Unlike when God asked Adam where he was, Adam didn’t try to make excuses. He told him he was hiding because he was naked. Gehazi tried to cover up his act altogether to see if he could get away with it.
Gehazi was a witness to Elisha’s many miracles just as Elisha was to Elijah. Why take from Naaman? Why rob himself from walking and learning from Elisha? We can only imagine the potential Gehazi’s future held if he stayed obedient.
Have we, at some point in our lives, been given an opportunity that we know was from the Lord? Along the way, we’ve allowed the enemy to whisk away with our blessing and now we’re left in the cold reminiscing the good old days? We have a scar that is hard to bear; wondering how can I get back on track?
Greed – a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed.
Matthew 23:25-26 (ESV)
25“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
Gehazi was determined to receive what was in Naaman’s possession no matter what the cost. He wanted something more than what he needed.
Let’s not get this confused with setting goals, ambitions, and wanting more to better our own and family life. It’s how we go about it that will determine greed vs. better living. We can’t take from people things that don’t belong to us and expect the blessing to flow. We have to work in honesty for what we want.
What was Gehazi’s punishment? Elisha punished him by giving Naaman’s ailment to him and his descendants forever. Gehazi walked away and was a leper to his death. Not only did he bring upon destruction for himself but Elisha casted a generational curse among his entire family. Gehazi doesn’t ever repent from his sin. Did he feel he couldn’t? Was he so ashamed that he allowed it to kill his soul? What does this tell us about the walk he had? He had the perfect example for a role model but greed put blinders over his heart and eyes.
We always have to think about how our actions will affect others. From the closest person to us to the ones we may not even think we touch.
1 Timothy 6:10-11 (AMP)
10For the love of money is a root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have been led astray and have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves through with many acute [mental] pangs. 11But as for you, O man of God, flee from all these things; aim at and pursue righteousness (right standing with God and true goodness), godliness (which is the loving fear of God and being Christlike), faith, love, steadfastness (patience), and gentleness of heart.
Money itself is not evil. It’s the way we use and think how it can work for us that may cause the greed in money. Do we use it to bless others or do we hoard it and fatten our own lives? We all know that it’s better to serve others than richen our own household. We could never get more than what the Lord wants to give us. If we obey the principles to give unto others and it will be given back to us (Luke 6:38), then why should greed be a problem in our lives? If we don’t know Jesus, then we don’t know the principles and miss out on all the abundance in life. We need to understand that following Jesus will not make you rich in this life but we will bask in the Heavenly when Jesus returns to take us home.
If we apply the principles of tithing, serving others, have our hearts aligned with the Lord, and surrender ourselves every day; He will direct us and provide the fulfillment in our lives.
Can we be rich on Earth? I believe we can. But what does rich mean to you? Is it the material things in life (big house, fancy cars, and money in abundance)? Or is it the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of Christ Jesus and applying those in our home, work, and dealings with others?
As we forget about going after the riches of this world and ask the Lord for the riches in Heaven, He will lead us to opportunities here that otherwise we would not see.
II Corinthians 8:10-15 (Paraphrased)
But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality.