Bible Ballistics: BBs #136 A Bag of Dirt or A Little Greed????
Continuing our thoughts about Naaman, the leprous general who came to Elisha for healing: this pagan man who was an enemy of Israel, came to the God of Israel and found Him faithful, and became His worshipper. What a life-changing transformation! But there’s more to the story than Naaman!
Now back to Elisha, the prophet and his servant Gehazi–
Elisha—“And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant. 16 But he said, As the Lord liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused.” Verse 16
Elisha understands that Naaman’s focus needs to be on the God who heals, not the prophet, so he refuses his gift. God’s mercies are not for sale!!! Elisha is committed to the God of the gifts and healings, not financial gain. He was committed to see that Naaman’s focus stayed on God. Elisha’s reward was from God, in seeing the conversion of one lone, leper, general of an enemy army. The Great and Almighty God cared enough to reach out and reveal Himself to a Syrian General, through healing! All because of a little girl who loved God!!! Suffice it to say, Elisha was dependent on the God of all gifts, not the gifts of this wealthy, grateful, healed and converted man.
What a breath of fresh air, a servant of God concerned about the souls of men so much that he doesn’t pursue their wealth. His pursuit was of God, not wealth. His concern was that Naaman’s spiritual focus to stay on God, not on this prophet of God, simply the vessel of God’s work. What do we think about our service? Are we distracted by the applause, the praise of men, or the financial perks to the spoiling of our ability to keep people focused on God?
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
It’s all about GOD—NOT about ME!!! Let’s see what happens when the focus turns to self rather than God.
Gehazi—“But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him. 21 So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well? 22 And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments.”
How far will greed/covetousness take you? Let’s see how far it took Gehazi:
It stirred up jealousy and disregard of God’s grace—
“Naaman this Syrian”, THIS ENEMY–
Not, ‘praise God for His salvation’! Why?
To disrespect the example of his master, Elisha—
“my master hath spared” THIS man–
Not, ‘praise God for such selflessness’! Why?
To presumptuously ignore Elisha’s wisdom—
“I will run after him, and take somewhat”
Not, ‘praise God for priceless grace’! Why?
Why? Because Gehazi was full of covetousness for the wealth of “THIS” man, which Elisha had wisely refused to accept? He was resentful that “THIS” foreigner, “THIS” enemy, “THIS” leper, received from God but Elisha refused his gift. He had no compassion, no awe and wonder, no praise for the goodness and power of God. He had no delight in the witness this man would bear of the Almighty God to his world. He had no eyes to see spiritual truth and the glorious grace and power of the God he claimed as his own!!! He was ‘blinded’ by the glitter of the silver, gold and fine clothes. He missed the blessing because his heart was consumed with ‘GREED’!!! What about us? And at what price?
“But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither. 26 And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? 27 The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.”
Now, he even lies to his master. Elisha, broken-heartedly, reproves Gehazi and pronounces God’s judgment on him—the leprosy of Naaman. What price greed$$$? A heritage of disease on his entire posterity.
So??? Here’s our shot for today. Where is our heart?
Set on the things and values of God,
or have we allowed sin and greed to run us
of the heart of God for others?
Into jealousy and disregard–
For God’s work?
For compassion toward our enemies?
You get the idea. Do you need to check your ‘bling’ quotient today! Does it have more of you than God does? Are you serving out of devotion and love, or ‘greed’ of some kind? Are we selfless and wise like Elisha, or resentful and jealous because of greed? Only YOU can answer these questions!!!
James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”