Trying to Hide our Earthly Passions

A treasure chest at Bamburgh Castle. 


He said to him, “Go in peace.”   But when Naaman had gone from him a short distance, Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, thought, “My master has let that Aramean Naaman off too lightly by not accepting from him what he offered. As the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something out of him.” So Gehazi went after Naaman. When Naaman saw someone running after him, he jumped down from the chariot to meet him and said, “Is everything all right?” He replied, “Yes, but my master has sent me to say, ‘Two members of a company of prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim; please give them a talent of silver and two changes of clothing.’” Naaman said, “Please accept two talents.” He urged him, and tied up two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of clothing, and gave them to two of his servants, who carried them in front of Gehazi. When he came to the citadel, he took the bags from them, and stored them inside; he dismissed the men, and they left.
(2 Kings 5:19–24 NRSV)


Gehazi had been faithfully serving Elisha, but suddenly his own greed got the better of him. Elisha does not say that it’s wrong to accept gifts, but for some reason, in this situation, he chose not to. Gehazi’s heart is not right and his behavior reveals what is hidden in his soul. The love of money was somewhere in his heart and so he goes after the gifts. 

The result of this decision leads to further sin and cover-up. The reality is that Elisha would have forgiven him and helped him find a way to repent of his action, but Gehazi kept trying to deny what he had done. The result was spiritual leprosy that became physical. Gehazi traded his whole life for a talent of silver and two changes of clothing. His earthly passions were not hidden, and he suffered as a result of his sin. 


What is so odd about this story is the placement of Gehazi as compared to the servants of Naaman. It was Naaman’s servants who proved to be faithful: they encouraged their master to listen to the advice of Elisha and to find complete and total healing. Their hearts were turned toward the good of their master, and nothing else. They risked rejection by their master, just to help him find complete healing. 

Gehazi, on the other hand, the man who should have known better is the lesser servant. Why is it that sometimes those who serve in the kingdom of God seem to have fewer scruples than those who serve in the world? Service to God does not protect anyone from temptation and may even land them in a situation where they could potentially take advantage of others. If our earthly passions are not nailed to the cross, our behaviors will reveal what really lies in our heart.

The sad truth is that far too many have lost their souls for something as small as a talent and a couple of changes of clothing. In the heat of the moment we fail to see the long-term impact of our behaviors. God offers us the opportunity to repent but as we dig in and cover-up, the consequences begin to take their toll. 

Those whose lives are given over in service to God are held to the standard found in the life of Christ. Earthly passions are to be given over in service to God, and we are to be motivated by the heart of Jesus. 


Lord, day by day, renew a right spirit in my life. Amen. 


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