Happy Day After Thanksgiving! Hopefully, Y’all had a wonderful day of family and friends and football. We ate a lot. Enough to make me swear off food, which was a total lie. I lasted all of four hours before diving in for round two (okay, maybe three) (don’t judge).
We are picking right back up this week with our story of Naaman in 2 Kings 5 but alongside Naaman this week, we’re looking at Gehazi, Elisha’s servant. This story continues to minister to my heart. Every time I think I’ve gleaned as much as I can out of Naaman’s story, the Lord whispers something new to me. And I kinda love when He does that.
(If you need a catch-up, read here, here, and here.)
Naaman and Gehazi…
After his healing, Naaman attempted to give Elisha some of the gold and silver and fine clothing he brought with him but Elisha wasn’t having it. He wanted nothing to do with Naaman’s wealth. Instead, Naaman opted to load up two mules with dirt so he could offer sacrifices on that earth, the holy ground of his salvation from death when he returned to his homeland.
“But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, the man of God, said to himself, “My master should not have let this Aramean get away without accepting any of his gifts. As surely as the Lord lives, I will chase after him and get something from him.” ~ 2 Kings 5:20
And that’s exactly what he did.
I’m picturing Gehazi witnessing the whole exchange between Naaman and Elisha from the second-story window. Right? The perfect spot to hear their words but not be detected spying.
Gehazi sees Naaman and his “world-class menagerie” gold, horses, fine clothing, silver, and chariots and he thinks, Elisha should accept the offer of some of this stuff.
In modern terms, Naaman had driven his Ferrari filled with Tiffany’s boxes and Burberry scarves and Coach purses and all the Kendra Scott earnings ever made. He’s got all his company executives, every Chief of Something, along with him and their luxury vehicles are equally filled with gold Rolex watches and those galvanized metal chargers from Chip and Jo’s Target line (swoon) and some Anthropologie dresses purchased at FULL PRICE.
(Burberry and Coach do not speak to me but Target and Anthropologie so do.)
Gehazi sees all that STUFF and he probably thinks, “Naaman OWES us his life. That leprosy would have killed him but Elisha healed him and DAGNABIT, he’s our enemy! Why does he get to have healing AND adorable chargers????”
Anyone else ever thought that? Not even about their enemy but how about just your neighbor putting in a pool or your co-worker rolling up in her new SUV?
We all do.
So Gehazi chases after Naaman and he lies. “Listen, some things have come up. We’ve got these visitors coming into town and we could really use those metal chargers for our table setting and some of the gold to buy food for our guests and I just KNOW they would die over a couple of those Anthro dresses.”
Naaman, having no reason to doubt Elisha’s right-hand man, eagerly gives exactly what Gehazi’s asked for. And doubles it.
Naaman Falls for It…
Naaman is new to all this one true God stuff. He has lived as an enemy to God’s people. Aram raiders captured an Israeli girl who Naaman gave to his wife to be her servant. He even confesses to Elisha that he will have to bow down next to the king of Aramean when he worships “the god Rimmon.” His homeland is pagan and dark.
This place, this Prophet of God, undergoing the miraculous in the middle of the ordinary, it’s all new and foreign to Naaman.
He probably walked away from Elisha’s refusal to take a single thank you gift quite confused. He was a consumer, a conqueror. He climbed the ladder in his military career and had successfully reached the top rung. I’m sure, as a successful, wealthy, powerful man, he followed all the etiquette rules of the day. He probably never went to a dinner party without bringing a nice bottle of wine. Or received a gift from one of his vendors without having his assistant whip up a proper thank you note he could sign before leaving for the next battle.
Someone refusing to accept his gifts, his thanks, his sincere offering of gratitude likely felt odd.
So when Gehazi shows up saying Elisha changed his mind, he did need some stuff from Naaman, he wasn’t all that surprised. In fact, he was probably relieved to be able to repay at least a portion of the debt he owed for the whole saving his life thing.
Naaman had things to give and he was anxious to give them.
Naaman fell for the lie.
Gehazi Falls for It…
I’m not sure when Gehazi became bored or unfulfilled or when he began to feel stifled by his workplace or when he started feeling like he could do more, be more, earn more. But he did. He saw his boss, Elisha, bring a child back to life. He witnessed Elisha providing Naaman the recipe for healing. He had a front-row seat the miraculous, powerful, holy work of I AM. He had seen the spectacular.
So right there, in the middle of Gehazi maybe feeling like he could be more than just an apprentice to the prophet, he sees Naaman with all the worldly symbols of success and he thinks, I could have that, too.
I deserve a nice car. I earned that promotion. I am owed more than what they are paying me.
Gehazi sees the outward, earthly displays of success and decides the good God has already provided him, a place of service to a Godly, anointed prophet, a home, food, a purpose and calling, a position of respect and honor, all that holy, ordinary walking-around life good God had already given to Gehazi no longer was enough.
Gehazi fell for the lie.
We All Fall for It…
The enemy has zero new tricks. He has one major lie and he’s been telling it to us since he first hissed it to Eve in the garden.
You can have more. This is not enough. The good God has already provided is not enough. God is not enough.
There is more.
He simply repackages it, shapes it to speak the language of our biggest weaknesses.
Each of us feels we have more to give. We have talents and ideas and plans and potential. Sometimes it can feel like we’re just waiting for someone, and for sure God, to give us a chance to show off. God, I can run that project. Sir, I can win that account. Teacher, you don’t know how successful I am going to be. Minister, I can preach that sermon. It doesn’t really matter that God has said wait or God’s said not now or even when God’s said no. Because if someone would just ask us to give, we would gladly jump at the chance to be the one to save the day.
And like Naaman, we’re totally doubling our giving.
We know the feeling of wanting to receive more. Sitting in our cubicle at work wondering if anyone sees our potential or understands our career goals. Waiting in the carpool line daydreaming about the days when you were valued for more than your ability to cut up an apple. Hiding in the back of your closet crying after another month and another failed pregnancy test. Caring for a loved one enduring physical suffering, feeling powerless, and praying the next treatment, the next dose, the next surgery will be the cure. We are worth more than this lowly position, doing this lowly task, getting passed over for that promotion.
And like Gehazi, we go out and take life into our own hands to get exactly what we think we deserve.
We are both Naaman and Gehazi.
There is more.
IT IS A LIE.
Over the past several weeks, we’ve looked at how much we despise our small.
Asked God the method He wants us to use so we can get started with our plumb line of living a life of gratitude.
Looked down at our feet and reminded ourselves wherever we go and whatever we do, Jesus is with us and because of that, we are on holy ground.
So it’s about time for the enemy to up his game.
His whispers should be reaching a scream now. They are coming to us through our TV’s and radios and social media ads and straight into our virtual and physical mailboxes. He just loves to corrupt our season dedicated to the grateful worship of our Savior.
He will use his lie of there is more than what God has already given you to make us busier, spend more money, waste energy on worry, and cut off our hearts and souls to the still, small voice of our Father who says you are loved and adored and you are enough.
The lie will make you say Yes when you know you should say No. The lie will make you buy that present or take that trip or bake that dish when you know something smaller, simpler, more ordinary would be absolutely fine.
This lie, the one lie the enemy has, it is the reason we can all sit at a table overflowing with gratitude and abundance one day and get fuming mad when someone cuts in the check out line for a Black Friday Doorbuster the very next day.
And friend, there is more. There is more hate, fear, anger, evil, idolatry, violence, and self-indulgence. Without a doubt, the enemy is right, there is more.
But, there is a DIFFERENT MORE in Christ.
In our Savior, there is more love, more peace, more kindness, more goodness, more faithfulness, more gentleness, more self-control.
A holiday rooted in Him offers us less stress, more grace, fewer activities, more intentional memories, more manageable budgets, less debt to pay off, more snuggles and giggles and kisses, fewer schedules and arguments and expectations even Norman Rockwell painting could never meet.