Costly disobedience

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.

Joyful sacrifice

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”  Matthew 13:44

Have you ever wanted something so badly that you would have done anything to have it?  I know some people who are like that about every new piece of technology that comes out.  They rush out to get it, spending way too much money, because they absolutely must have the latest thing.  And once it has been acquired, they gleefully display it, describing the features and functions in detail to anyone who will listen.  They don’t mind the expense, for their heart is set on this new purchase. 

Now picture the man in this Scripture….walking through a field his foot hits an object protruding from the ground and he stumbles.  Curious, he looks down to see what he has tripped on.  He digs a bit and discovers a box.  How odd that it would have been left in this field.  He opens it, and to his amazement, it is full of gold coins and jewels.  The gems catch the sunlight, almost blinding him with their sparkling brightness.  He closes the box quickly, looking around to see if he is observed.  Stealthily, he hides the box again.  He searches for the owner of the field.  He must purchase this field, he must have that treasure.  The owner names his price – much more than the man has.  Undeterred, he sells his home, his donkey, and all his possessions to raise the money to buy the field.  All the earthly possessions he has acquired and enjoyed and treasured over the years, gone in an instant.  But this man is filled with joy.  Because now he has the field.  Now he has the treasure.

For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross, leaving the glory of heaven to come and die for sinners.   And He has set a joy before us – the joy of knowing Him.  Compared to this, all earthly joys fade into nothingness and all earthly treasures become dull and lackluster.  So let us leave behind the trinkets we have entertained ourselves with and pursue with all our hearts the one true treasure – Jesus Christ.