The Failure of the Successor


2Kings  5:27 Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you, and to your descendants forever.” So he left his presence leprous, as white as snow.


Elisha has his servant there beside him in his ministry. Gehazi has been privileged to watch the power of God flow through Elisha’s ministry. The latest miracle, the healing of Naaman has been astounding. The man was completely healed of leprosy and was leaving the country as a new man. He was grateful and wanted to give thanks. Elisha wanted God to be glorified.

Sadly, Gehazi didn't follow the example of Elisha who was mentored by Elijah. Although he had every opportunity to observe, partner in and learn all that God was doing he got caught up in a moment of greed. Naaman had brought all kinds of gifts with him when he came to ask for healing. Elisha accepted nothing and yet, Gehazi saw an opportunity.

Greed took over the heart of Gehazi and he followed after Naaman and told a lie to get some of the gifts from him. He took advantage of a grateful heart and left with two talents of silver and two changes of clothing. When he returned home he stored the gifts and went to approach Elisha.

Elisha asked him where he had gone and now, to cover his tracks he lied to Elisha, telling him he had not gone anywhere. He had a moment — an opportunity in which he could have confessed and repented, but he did not. He had been lured away by the temptation of worldly goods and now he continued to lie to keep them within his grasp.

At that moment he received the very illness from which Naaman had been healed. Naaman had brought worldly gifts which he thought might buy him healing. God did the healing and didn’t need any worldly gifts in return. Gehazi accepted the worldly gifts and in return received the illness for which Naaman had been seeking a worldly treatment.

Gehazi was not seeking the LORD of his master, but was faced in the direction of the world and it derailed all future opportunities for his life and his descendants.


Succession planning only works when all of those involved become seriously engaged in the process. If the potential successor is only interested in their own personal success and not the success of the mission, the process will fail.

There must be a passion and love for the mission of God, not for a position. When we fall in love with the idea of a particular job and what we may perceive as the attention and/or accolades that go with the position we become distracted from the real leading of God.

I don’t believe that Gehazi’s failure began that day but that it must have begun in his heart when he allowed temptation to take hold and lead him away from the mission of God. By then he was willing to move in a direction that ultimately led to his destruction. He would never become Elisha’s successor.


Lord, please help me remain passionately engaged with you and your mission. Amen.


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