August 3, 2014
READ: 2 Kings 5:9-27
Elisha replied, “As surely as the LORD lives . . . I will not accept any gifts” (v.16).
While I was helping to organise donations of clothing for a church event, I paused to touch a cashmere sweater’s soft grey cloth. When I realised it would fit me, I considered the possibility of owning it—for free! Volunteers were allowed first pick of the donations. Cashmere is an expensive fabric, and although I have enough sweaters, this one was calling my name. After some inner turmoil, I finally offered the item to a fellow worker, who joyfully accepted it.
I don’t always squash the greedy urges that wash over my heart—I fail frequently. Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, gave in to greed after Elisha healed Naaman of leprosy. Naaman had wanted to reward Elisha for restoring his health, but Elisha said, “As surely as the LORD lives . . . I will not accept any gifts” (2 Kings 5:16).
Gehazi said to himself, however, “I will chase after [Naaman] and get something from him” (v.20). Gehazi approached Naaman and asked for clothing and money to give to some visitors who had just arrived at Elisha’s house. Naaman gladly supplied the outfits, adding a double amount of silver.
When Elisha confronted his servant, Gehazi denied the wrongdoing (v.25). The prophet knew better. He asked, “Is this the time to receive money and clothing?” (v.26). Then Gehazi was stricken with leprosy—a physical disease that mirrored his spiritual decay.
Greed is an uncontrollable appetite for more of something. It may begin by fulfilling a healthy desire, but it can morph into habitual craving. Imagine what would happen if our deepest yearnings were redeemed and redirected towards God. Then we could proclaim, “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God” (Psalm 42:1). —Jennifer Benson Schuldt
365-day plan› Luke 11:14-32
Read Philippians 2:13 to see what kind of desire God is placing within the hearts of those who know Him. Look up Colossians 3:5 to learn how God views greed.
How do you differentiate between accepting a gift or help from someone and giving in to greed? How might finding spiritual satisfaction in Jesus help someone who struggles with greed?