In 2 Kings 5 we read of the miraculous healing of Naaman from leprosy. The prophet Elisha refuses to accept any money from Naaman and sends him on his way. But Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, secretly goes after Naaman with this request:
“Please give me a talent of silver and two changes of garments.”
Gehazi, as the servant of Elisha, occupied a coveted position. Surely he was not unaware that Elisha had once been the servant of Elijah. And now he was in that relation to Elisha. One has to wonder if Gehazi’s position would have made him Elisha’s successor. And yet, Gehazi’s desire, which he was willing to lie to obtain (“My master has sent me” v22) was for a talent of silver and 2 changes of garments. Going to request these from Naaman in secret, he may have thought he would be able to have his stash of worldly goods and have his position with Elisha remain unaffected. But because he clung to the treasure of Naaman, the leprosy of Naaman clung to him.
Going after the things of this world will not leave us untainted. Chasing wealth will create in us a miserly greed to have more for ourselves. Chasing success will cause us to neglect the weightier matters of life. Chasing entertainment will leave our soul corrupted by the worldly things we entertain ourselves with. And we may obtain all these things….and find we have lost our place in the kingdom.
We read of Gehazi one more time in 2 Kings 8 and he is not with Elisha. But he is recounting the stories of the things he witnessed as Elisha’s servant. One must wonder if his voice was tinged with regret and longing for what he has lost. He still has the title “servant of Elisha”, but it is only a title.
I set Gehazi before us as an example of what not to do. Let us not be those who are led astray by the sparkle of silver or any such thing. But let us rather be like Moses “esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.” Like Moses, let us “look to the reward” – that great day when we will stand before the Lord Jesus, clothed in His righteousness, having invested our lives in knowing and sharing Him. This is the blessing that makes one rich and adds no sorrow with it. There are no regrets to a life spent pursuing Jesus and making Him known.
World, you can keep your silver. I have found a better Treasure.