Falling Prey to Greed

“But when Naaman had gone from him a short distance, Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, “See, my master has spared this Naaman the Syrian, in not accepting from his hand what he brought. As the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something from him.” So Gehazi followed Naaman. And when Naaman saw someone running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him and said, “Is all well?” And he said, “All is well. My master has sent me to say, ‘There have just now come to me from the hill country of Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of clothing.'” And Naaman said, “Be pleased to accept two talents.” And he urged him and tied up two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of clothing, and laid them on two of his servants. And they carried them before Gehazi. And when he came to the hill, he took them from their hand and put them in the house, and he sent the men away, and they departed. He went in and stood before his master, and Elisha said to him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” And he said, “Your servant went nowhere.” But he said to him, “Did not my heart go when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Was it a time to accept money and garments, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male servants and female servants? Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever.” So he went out from his presence a leper, like snow.” (2 Kings 5:19-27, ESV)

Many people know the story of Naaman being cleansed of his leprosy, but most do not know what Paul Harvey would call, “the rest of the story.”

Naaman offers gifts in thanksgiving to Elisha for his assistance. Elisha refuses. However, as Naaman leaves, Elisha’s servant Gehazi decides he cannot pass up such an opportunity for gain. He follows Naaman and lies to him about circumstances. Once his new wealth is received, Gehazi also lies to Elisha about what he was doing. But Gehazi does not get away with his underhandedness and walks away with the same leprosy that had plagued Naaman.

The lesson we need to learn from Gehazi is to beware of greed. It is easy to get caught up in the desire for the things of this world to the point that we are willing to do most anything to receive them or keep them. Furthermore, just because people are in a position where they are supposed to be serving God does not make them immune to greed. Greed destroys, as it did with Gehazi; and it will do the same to us if we fall prey to it.

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