2 Kings 5:20-6:7
Elisha was a true man of God. He demonstrated how much he cared for people by the good works he did for them. How like Jesus he was! Naaman the leper had come to him for healing, and he was cleansed. When Naaman return to Elisha to pay him, Elisha refused to accept payment. He practiced the principle that Jesus would later give to His disciples. “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). No doubt Elisha wanted Naaman to experience God’s grace.
However Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, saw this as a way to benefit himself. He justified his actions by saying to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman.” But the truth was that Gehazi was greedy. He went after Naaman and caught up with him. Then he lied, saying that Elisha sent him because two prophets had come from the hill country of Ephraim. Greed quickly gave way to deceit and misrepresentation of his master. Naaman gave him two talents of silver (each talent weighing about 75 pounds), two sets of clothing, and two servants to carry it back for him. But when he came to the hill near his home, Gehazi took the goods and sent the two servants back to Naaman. Obviously he wanted to be discreet!
But the LORD revealed to Elisha everything that Gehazi was doing. So Elisha said to him:
“Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it time to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants? Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and your descendants forever.” (2 Kings 5:26–27, NKJV)
Elisha knew what Gehazi did, and he even knew the motive of Gehazi’s heart in doing it. Gehazi was seeking to use the money to increase his own estate. But Israel was under judgment, and this was not the time for him to seek great things for himself (Jeremiah 45:4-5). Because of his sin Gehazi would be leprous for the rest of his life.
“Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15, NKJV)
If the substance of one’s life is not in possessions, then what is it in? It is in our relationships with God and with others. May God help us to turn from covetousness and strengthen our relationships.