BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
In 2 Kings 5, the Bible records the story of Gehazi, the servant of Prophet Elisha. When we compare the life of Elisha as a servant of Elijah and the life of Gehazi as a servant of Elisha, we see a sharp contrast. Whereas Elisha served Elijah faithfully to the end and received a double portion of the spirit of Elijah, Gehazi, because of his unfaithfulness, only received the leprosy that Naaman had been afflicted with. Elisha was described as one who poured water on the hands of Elijah (2 Kings 3:11b). In other words, he was Elijah’s servant.
He remained persistent, following to the end despite attempts by Elijah to discourage him. We saw this determination and commitment in him right from the time Elijah called him (1Kings 19:19-21). Elijah tried to discourage him then too, but he did not succeed. He definitely was testing him (2 Kings 2:1-6).
Some have blamed Elisha for not being able to produce someone like him who received the double portion of the spirit of his master and father in the ministry. I have found no basis in the Bible for this criticism. There is no way two different people can do the same thing the same way. Elisha and Elijah remained two different people in the way they did their ministries. Even if Gehazi had not failed in the matter of Naaman, there is no way one could be comparing Elijah and Elisha; they had different backgrounds, different personalities, and different temperaments.
Blaming Elisha for the failure of Gehazi is like blaming Jesus for the failure of Judas Iscariot. The only difference is that Elisha did not have twelve disciples. But there were sons of prophets under him and the Bible does not tell us details of their ministry after he had left.
What could Jesus have done that He did not do to ensure that Judas did not betray him, did not lose his bishopric and did not commit suicide? Jesus did all He was supposed to do but Judas still turned out the way he did. Jesus said those whom the Father gave Him, he had kept; none of them is lost except the son of perdition (John 17:12).
It didn’t really seem that Elijah initially wanted to transfer his Spirit to Elisha just like that, let alone give him double portion of it. But Elisha received it because he persisted and met Elijah’s condition. This was despite the fact that God had told Elijah to anoint Elisha as his successor (1Kings 19:16b). He kept testing him and Elisha passed the test.
I once heard someone blame Elisha for dying with his anointing and not transferring it to anyone such that when a corpse was thrown into his grave and touched his bones, the dead body was raised back to life (2 Kings 13:20-21). But what could he have done to transfer the anointing? Could he have anointed someone that heaven has not anointed? When Samuel wanted to anoint in error one of the seven sons of Jesse as king, didn’t God object to it? (1 Samuel 16:6-10). Can anyone anoint, in the real sense of it, someone that heaven has not anointed? The pastor can pour olive oil on his head, but that will not amount to heaven anointing the person!
Are we not supposed to be careful in the body of Christ who we anoint into offices? Are we not supposed to be careful not to anoint those that God has rejected? We may pour the anointing oil on them, but does that equate God putting His anointing upon them?
The problem today in some places is that they are anointing those God has not anointed while they refuse to anoint those God has anointed. Every pouring of oil to anoint people in the Bible as kings followed the choice by heaven. This should be the practice in the ministry, too. Anything otherwise will be a futile exercise, a nullity. Samuel told Saul, after anointing him, “Is it not because the LORD has anointed you commander over His inheritance?” (1 Samuel 10:1 New King James Version).
One of the sons of the prophets sent by Elisha to anoint Jehu as king of Israel poured the oil on him and said, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘I have anointed you king over the people of the LORD, over Israel’” (2 Kings 9:6 New King James Version). Only after heaven has chosen a person should he be anointed. Otherwise, the oil will just be ordinary olive oil and not the oil from heaven! And what is important is the oil from heaven; the anointing oil will soon get dry, but the oil from heaven must remain. Let not your head lack oil (Ecclesiastes 9:8).
Concerning Judas Iscariot, the Bible says that Satan entered into him and he went to join those who wanted to kill Jesus (Luke 22:3; Matthew 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11). Here was a follower going to betray the Master he had been with for three and a half years. One wonders why he entertained such a thought in the first instance before he went to carry it out.
Concerning Gehazi – the one who noticed that the Shunnamite woman had no child, the one Elisha gave his rod to go and pray for the woman’s child that died and no miracle took place – one wonders at what stage, prior to the coming of Naaman, that his focus changed from ministry to material things.
This is a possibility for ministers, both the set men and their associates. If you keep your eyes on material things, you will lose your focus on the purpose of ministry. Money or material things are not the purpose of ministry; they are just mere tools or means of doing ministry. They come to you as by-product of your ministry, but they are not the substance of ministry. You cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). Fame or popularity is not the goal of ministry, but they could come as by-product (Matthew 4:24, 9:25-26, 30-31, 14:1). But if this becomes your focus, you will shipwreck your life and ministry.
That was where Demas missed it. A co-worker with Paul, he lost his focus in Ministry. He loved the world and abandoned his duty post (2 Timothy 4:10). You can be in radio and television ministry for instance, but deviate from the original goal of saving souls, bringing the message of deliverance to many, etc. and move into popularity contest; ambition takes over from vision, flesh takes over from the Spirit. You could still be doing the work of God, but your motive is now polluted. Apostle Paul spoke about some people who were preaching the gospel out of wrong motive. They were preaching the gospel out of selfish ambition, competing for the spotlight (Philippians 1:15). Souls can still be saved, and people be blessed, but it is unlikely that people who engage in this kind of practice will get any reward for their labour.
Such people, the Bible says, will say in the last day that in the name of Jesus they prophesied, cast out devils and did many wonderful works but He will say that He never knew them; He will ask them to depart from Him, describing them as workers of iniquity (Matthew 7:22-23). Examine yourself whether you are still in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). God is more concerned about your motive than your work.
Before you condemn Gehazi, I want to say that Gehazi is a representative of each one of us. There is a ‘Gehazi’ in you and me that God wants us to deal with. That is why God allowed Gehazi’s story to be written in the Bible. I know that, as a child of God, you have been declared righteous – you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21). But the Bible also tells us that there is a war that is going on among your members. The Spirit lusts against the flesh and the flesh against the Spirit (Galatians 5:17).
You’ve been crucified with Christ, you’ve been buried with Him, you’ve risen with Him and the life you now live you live by the faith of the Son of God (Galatians 2:20). But you are still battling with the flesh. Your condition is yet to reflect your true position in Christ, where you are seated with Him in the heavenly realm far above principality and power (Ephesians 2:6, 1:21). There is still a ‘Gehazi’ in you somewhere in your life you have to get rid of.
I want you to learn from some things in the life of Gehazi that God has pointed my attention to, relate them to your life and terminate such tendencies in your life. You will not be like Gehazi in life and ministry in Jesus’ name. The spirit of Gehazi will not destroy you, your family, your ministry, etc. in Jesus’ name. You won’t be a negative reference point.
What are these wrong things in Gehazi?
1.Gehazi was a shepherd without a shepherd’s heart. He has no compassion, which every minister should have for the people God has sent them to. We see this in the way he acted towards the Shunnamite woman who was in pain following the death of her only son and ran to meet Elisha with the problem believing him to come and raise him back to life. He wanted to push the woman away when she caught the feet of Elisha, but Elisha intervened and stopped him. This was unbecoming of a minister. Or would you say he was protecting him? Could this kind of attitude be the reason why he couldn’t raise the son when he was given the rod by Elisha to go and pray for him or this was not the right way to handle raising the boy back to life? (2 Kings 4: 24-31).
Compassion is a divine force that ignites miracles. Many times, we read in the Bible that Jesus had compassion on the people before performing the miracles he did for them (Matthew 9:36, 14:14, 20:34; Luke 7:13; Mark 1:41, 6:34). Ministers must not be callous; we must be compassionate. We must ensure that those around us walk in compassion towards people without losing their spiritual sensitivity or walking in the flesh. Jesus had to rebuke the disciples for a similar act of preventing children from coming to Jesus and attempting to call down fire (Luke 9:54). Ministers who have altar ushers/personal assistants who look like bodyguards or like stern looking security personnel should keep a balance between compassion and their personal security.
Don’t lose your compassion like Jonah lost it through racism. He could not care if God destroyed the people of Nineveh. He preferred to be thrown from the ship into the sea to die than repent as he fled from the presence of the Lord to Tarshish, but the LORD caused him to be swallowed by a fish. Not until he was in the belly of the fish for three days and nights, did he repent. And after being vomited upon dry land in Nineveh, he reluctantly went to preach to them. Without compassion, Jonah had no feeling for the people of Nineveh and was bitter that God forgave them and did not destroy the nation. He did not see the repentance of 120,000 people as a national revival to celebrate.
Every minister must ask the LORD to baptize him with the spirit of compassion for the people He has been sent to. Compassion draws the anointing; compassion releases the anointing. Without compassion, you cannot be a good shepherd.
2. Gehazi showed a wrong motive for service. Why did I say this? The Bible says from the abundant of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). His statement concerning pursuit of material things in ministry revealed the state of his heart. You can be following a man but have a wrong motive. You can be following him because of what you will benefit from him and not really because of your desire to serve.
There is an amazing commentary in 2 Chronicles 25:2, “And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a loyal heart” (New King James Version). Did you see that? That scripture is talking about King Amaziah who did what was right, but not with the right heart i-e he was not wholeheartedly devoted to God.
What is your motive in your service as a minister, head of a ministry, a steward in church, staff in your company? God does not look at your eyes; he looks at your heart (1 Samuel 16:7). He is interested in your motive more than your actions. He tests the heart and mind i-e He knows our thoughts and feelings (Psalm 7:9). You will have no reward if you have a wrong motive for your good works.
In John 12:1-8, we see an account that supports this point on wrong motive. Judas objected to an expensive ointment being used to anoint Jesus as against selling it and giving the money to the poor. That seemed to be a noble proposal but the Bible says his suggestion was not because he cared for the poor; it was because he was a thief and he used to pilfer from what was in the purse in his custody, he used to embezzle the money in his custody.
This appeared to be the last straw that broke the camel’s back for Judah! Going by Matthew’s account of the incident in Matthew 26:6-16, Judas, immediately after this unfortunate comment, which he made and Jesus overruled him, could not control his indignation about what he and other disciples had considered a waste of resources. Judas went to the chief priests to ask what they would give him if he delivered Jesus to them.
Examine your motive. Get rid of all wrong motives in your heart. Get rid of everything including projects, programmes, services, you are doing out of selfish ambition and not out of vision. You want to make a statement with your project, your programme, etc. What statement? Who are you trying to impress? Quit selfish ambition right now and begin to do the real, authentic ministry heaven has entrusted unto you.
3. Gehazi was a disloyal subordinate. Are you loyal to your boss? Why must Gehazi want what his boss had rejected and go about it in a way that embarrassed him? (2 Kings 5:20-22). Did he think he knew better than his boss? This is disloyalty (Matthew 24:45, 1Corinthians 4:2). “The trustworthy person will get a rich reward, but a person who wants quick riches will get into trouble” (Proverbs 28:20 New Living Translation).
4. Gehazi had no fear of God. Do you have the fear of God? (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10, Ecclesiastes 8:12). The fear of God keeps us away from evil (Proverbs 16.6). Why did Gehazi have to bring God’s name into his ungodly transaction? The Bible says do not call, use or repeat the name of the Lord in vain. But to express his strong determination to pursue something evil, he said as the Lord lives (2 Kings 5: 20). Compare this to the use of the name of the Lord by Elisha in verse 16 of the same chapter to affirm that he would not collect anything from Naaman. Be careful not to use the name of the Lord frivolously; hallow His name.
5. He was aggressive and desperate about material things. Gehazi pursued Naaman to collect ungodly reward (2Kings 5:21). He took from Naaman. He didn’t understand why Elisha should spare Naaman and not collect the gift he had offered him (2 Kings 5:20b). Are you a giver or a taker? Do you always look for things to take from people rather than to give? The Bible says it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35) There is he that scatters yet increases and there is he that withholds and tends towards poverty (Proverbs 11:24).
Beware of covetousness. Why must you want what belongs to another? Be contented. Contentment has nothing to do with what you have or you don’t have. You can have much and not be contented and you may not have much and still be contented. Contentment is a discipline (Proverbs 28:16; Luke 12:15; Hebrews 13:5).
6. Gehazi was a liar and a deceitful person. A Gehazi can use anybody’s name and say anything to get what he wants. Gehazi lied to both Naaman and Elisha (2 Kings 5:22-25). Even after Elisha was aware of what Gehazi had done, he was still pretending and lying that he didn’t go anywhere (verse 25).
Proverbs 12:22 says, “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal truthfully are His delight” (New King James Version). God hates a lying tongue (Proverbs 6:16-17). He says, “He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house; he who tells lies shall not continue in my presence” (Psalm 101:7 New King James Version).
Repent of lying; it is the nature of the devil (John 8:44). Don’t lie to anyone in order to get undue advantage. Don’t be a name-dropper. Don’t mislead people. Live a life of honesty. If you are dishonest, you will always live in the fear of being found out. Deal with pretence in your life; be real. Don’t be a hypocrite (Matthew 23:13-15; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 20:46-47).
Gehazi, in his scheme, stored his sinful gain away in the house before going to stand before his master. Don’t do your work either spiritual or secular deceitfully (Jeremiah 48:10). Do your work as unto the LORD because you will give account to him and not your boss or employer alone. Be a straightforward person.
7. Gehazi did not stay in his place of service. A Gehazi is always distracted by material gain and other things. He is therefore not well focused (2 Kings 5:25). Gehazi was supposed to be standing before Elisha like Elisha stood before Elijah pouring water on his hands, rather Gehazi was running after Naaman. No wonder he collected his leprosy and not the anointing.
Are you always running after wealthy people in the name of ministering to them? There is a big danger in this kind of ministry. Are you always at your duty post? Are you standing before the person God has called you to serve or you are going here and there? You cannot be well focused doing that. You are either here or there to be able to make impact in life. Don’t be like the man in the story in 1Kings 20:39-42 who allowed the person kept in his custody to escape while he was busy here and there. “Like a bird that wanders from its nest is a man who wanders from his place” (Proverbs 27:8 New King James Version).
8. Gehazi caused unnecessary problem for himself and his family. He activated generational curse. In 2 Kings 5:27, Gehazi was inflicted with avoidable leprosy, and he bequeathed it to his descendants forever. He became a door opener for evil to enter into his family. What an inheritance!
Achan was another man who brought calamity upon his entire family (Joshua 7:22-26). Don’t be an Achan or a Gehazi; be an Obed-edom who opened himself and the household for God’s blessing and not trouble (2 Samuel 6:11-12).
In Numbers 25:6-13 God cut a covenant of peace with Phinehas and his descendants because of Phinehas’ zeal for the LORD. Cornelius and his household were saved because his act of giving alms cried as a memorial unto the LORD and God opened the door of salvation to them.
There are other examples of fathers who sowed bad seeds for their families or descendants to reap. Repent of anything that can add you to the list of such persons. Stop every generational curse in your family or lineage and start a generational blessing today.
Conclusion: There is a measure of Gehazi in each person, which God wants us to deal with as leaders and followers. Humility will deal with it, but pride will ignore it. Don’t live in denial. May you be wise and do what is right. Before God’s judgment, comes His warning.
If you’re not born again, I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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