2 Kings 5:20-27 – If We Keep Our Eyes on Jesus, We Will Be OK!

Posted: May 6, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 5:20-27

The Greed of Gehazi

As you may have noticed, I have not posted a blog in about a week. It has been an extremely busy week. I left the Quad Cities last Sunday to go to the first session of the annual pastoral licensing school of the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. It was held in Winnsboro, SC at a retreat center out in the middle of nowhere just north of the town of Winnsboro. The first session is a weeklong intensive on training in the various aspects of ministry in the United Methodist Church. It was all day everyday Monday morning through Friday and then a half day this past Saturday. There will be two more weekend sessions (all day on Friday and all day on Saturday) coming up at the central office of the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church in Columbia, SC. One will be this weekend and the final session will be the weekend before Memorial Day. From sun up to sundown, we were in class.

It was an amazing amount of detail. Mine bogglingly so. So much to remember that you might wonder what the heck I am doing going into this! It is an intensive look at every aspect of small church ministry (as each of us candidates will be serving in small churches – that’s the way it is often in ministry, you start in a small church or you start a church and its small at first).

At the same time, I was still the Director of Business Services/Staff Pastor at Calvary Church of The Quad Cities and there were still duties that I had to tend to. Daily contributions had to be recorded and the daily reconciliation of our giving records to our financial reports to ensure accuracy. Preparations of month-end were performed Monday evening and Tuesday evening. Then Wednesday through Friday evenings were devoted to getting the books closed and getting all the month-end reports prepared. In this sense, a large church is very much like a small to medium-sized business in that we have a sophisticated expense control system, budgets that are actually monitored and reviewed against actual performance, reports that offer analysis of performance, and formal financial performance reports and formal review meetings concerning the church’s performance not only financially but in all aspects of the church’s life.

Add to that, on Friday night, I drove down from Winnsboro, SC to Lamar, SC to visit with representatives of the church that I am being appointed to, Lamar United Methodist Church, coming up at the end of June. It is about an hour and a half drive from Winnsboro to Lamar. I got to tour the parsonage and meet the current pastor there. I got to tour the church for the first time. Then, we had the meeting with the members of the pastor/parish relations committee. These people were so nice and so honest and it was a really good meeting and really good start to the relationship with the church. Then, it was back in the car to head back to Winnsboro so that I could go to bed and be ready for the Saturday morning session.

So, for the last week, every moment from the alarm going off early each morning until I went to bed at night was spoken for. Fifteen minutes here and there to speak to my wife by phone each day. Other moments sporadically during the week to speak to my daughter and granddaughter. Sprinkle in phone call from a friend and from my brother and that constituted my free time this week. The rest was training for Methodist ministry during the day and performing my duties for Calvary Church in the evenings. It was a week of endurance and perseverance.

I think that we all have times like this in our lives. Times where it is all about the business of getting from point A to point B and all the hurdles in between. Sometimes, when we get so busy with the business of life and for us as pastors, we get so busy with the business and operations of church, that we sometimes forget what we are in the business of!

That was the idea that struck me this morning as I read about the failure of Gehazi in this situation. He forgot what he was here for. He had gotten so busy with the business of being Elisha’s servant that he forgot the why of what he was here for. When we forget the “why” we are here in ministry then we open ourselves up to Satan’s schemes where other things become more important than discipleship of the saved and evangelism of the lost. That’s what we are here for. When we make church about something else, then, we begin to drift into the regions where Satan can influence us to focus on things other than Jesus Christ. With that idea in mind, let’s read the passage, 2 Kings 5:20-27, now:

20 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.” 21 So Gehazi set off after Naaman.

When Naaman saw Gehazi running after him, he climbed down from his chariot and went to meet him. “Is everything all right?” Naaman asked.

22 “Yes,” Gehazi said, “but my master has sent me to tell you that two young prophets from the hill country of Ephraim have just arrived. He would like 75 pounds[a] of silver and two sets of clothing to give to them.”

23 “By all means, take twice as much[b] silver,” Naaman insisted. He gave him two sets of clothing, tied up the money in two bags, and sent two of his servants to carry the gifts for Gehazi. 24 But when they arrived at the citadel,[c] Gehazi took the gifts from the servants and sent the men back. Then he went and hid the gifts inside the house.

25 When he went in to his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?”

“I haven’t been anywhere,” he replied.

26 But Elisha asked him, “Don’t you realize that I was there in spirit when Naaman stepped down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to receive money and clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and cattle, and male and female servants? 27 Because you have done this, you and your descendants will suffer from Naaman’s leprosy forever.” When Gehazi left the room, he was covered with leprosy; his skin was white as snow.

In this passage, we see that Gehazi saw a perfect opportunity to get rich by selfishly asking for the reward Elisha had refused. Unfortunately, his plan had several problems. First, he willingly accepted money and gifts that were offered to someone else. Second, he offered up a lie to get the money and then he lied to Elisha about where he had been and what he had been doing. Although Gehazi had been a helpful servant, he was overcome by the desire for personal gain. It became more important to him than serving God.

That was the thing that struck me this morning as I read about Gehazi. He was a faithful servant from what we can see of him in Scripture. He was there at Elisha’s side. He was a servant. But somehow, his heart drifted away from his purpose at some point. He became more interested in possessions than ministry. He, then, became susceptible to Satan’s temptations. He started going after the money rather than focusing on ministry.

We can all get that way though it does not have to be about money. It can be about anything that can get in the way of being a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. For me, this past week, has been, in part, about hitting the marks, about accomplish the large load of responsibilities that I had laid before me this week. For me, it was about the dizzying amount of details to the solo pastor’s life that we received training in. It was wondering about whether I am going to be able to handle all this detail. It was dizzying and humbling. We can be that way as a church too. When we lose focus on what established our local church – the passion to disciple the saved and to evangelize the lost – we can get all caught up in things that are not important to the kingdom of God. We can get lost in the details of being a church. We can drift from our first love that brought us to church – our love and devotion to Jesus Christ.

There were two things that are reminders from this week that I will take away with me. Never get so lost in the details of the business of church that you forget why you are there as a pastor. This was reinforced by one of the instructors at licensing school. He said, yes, we are throwing a lot of stuff at you this week, but none of it matters if you don’t love your people well. When you get to your church in June, love your people well. Get into their lives and be their pastor not just their preacher. Pastor your people. The second thing was during my meeting with the wonderful group that I got to talk to at Lamar UMC was something that was said at the conclusion of the meeting. I told them that “if we keep our eyes on Jesus, we will be OK!” There was such resounding agreement around the room. It was a God moment where you felt the presence of the Lord.

Let us remember in all the busy-ness of church, that if we keep our eyes on Jesus, we will be OK.

Amen and Amen.

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