A Lesson from Elisha and Gehazi

Daily Devotional: Day 153

“But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, “Look, my master has spared Naaman this Syrian, while not receiving from his hands what he brought; but as the Lord lives, I will run after him and take something from him’” (2 Kings 5:20-21, NKJV).

July, 2007. I had just been ordained a Roman Catholic priest. Before I began my assignment as Associate Pastor, I needed to take driving lessons. My driving instructor was a young man, probably in his mid-30s. He was preparing for ministry in an evangelical church. One hot afternoon, while we were on the road, he sought my advice regarding the integrity of a man of God. His question was: “So, what should a man of God be more careful about, women or money?” “Money,” I replied. Surprised at my answer, he said, “Oh, I thought it would be women.” “No,” I replied. “Women are visible and human like us, so you can easily tell if a problem is approaching and advice yourself. But money neither talks nor walks. It has no face; it controls people through its invisible yet seductive power. You won’t even know you’re in love with it. Love of money is the greatest threat to the integrity of a man of God.” Our conversation continued, but I’ll spare you any further details. 

In today’s passage, the prophet Elisha heals Naaman, the commanding officer of the Syrian army. In gratitude, he offers Elisha a gift. Elisha declines. But Gehazi, unable to control his greed, pursues Naaman and takes gifts from him under the pretext of acting on the orders of Elisha. That was the end of Gehazi’s ministry. As further punishment, he was inflicted with the leprosy of Naaman. This story teaches us a lesson about greed and integrity in the service of God.

Greed is idolatry (cf. Colossians 3:5). Whatever a person is greedy about, that is his god. Greed is unbridled desire to pursue or possess things of the world. When it takes hold of people, it’s like a drug; people can’t let go, except by sincere repentance. Over time, if people don’t change, they become numb to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Recall the story of Judas. People will kill because of money. They will betray friendship because of money. For the sake of money, people will even make a covenant with satan. Inside the Church or outside it, the god of greed has many victims worshiping at its altar. 

Today, God wants you to be like Elisha, and not like Gehazi. He wants you to remember your calling in Christ Jesus and keep your focus on serving God with integrity.  No matter what your needs are, resist the temptation to compromise your relationship with God. Trust the good Father to provide for your needs. 

 May the Lord supply all your needs in accordance with His riches in glory in Christ Jesus! Amen.

 For further study: 2 Kings 5:1-27

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