Day 113: The spirit of service, the real Reward (2 Kings 4-5)

Posted: July 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

After Naaman had traveled some distance, Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something from him.” So Gehazi hurried after Naaman. When Naaman saw him running toward him, he got down from the chariot to meet him. “Is everything all right?” he asked. “Everything is all right,” Gehazi answered. “My master sent me to say, ‘Two young men from the company of the prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two sets of clothing.'” “By all means, take two talents,” said Naaman. He urged Gehazi to accept them, and then tied up the two talents of silver in two bags, with two sets of clothing. He gave them to two of his servants, and they carried them ahead of Gehazi. When Gehazi came to the hill, he took the things from the servants and put them away in the house. He sent the men away and they left. Then he went in and stood before his master Elisha. “Where have you been, Gehazi?” Elisha asked. “Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi answered. But Elisha said to him, “Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money, or to accept clothes, olive groves, vineyards, flocks, herds, or menservants and maidservants? Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and he was leprous, as white as snow. 2 Kings 5: 19-27

You know, it’s funny. God says “Seek ye first the kingdom of God”-  not “Seek ye first a pile of Benjamins.”

Yet many people today think that service to God equals a a big fat payday. Sure, pastors, ministers and missionaries need to be paid for their work. They have families to support. I’m talking about volunteers, people who freely offer their time. The reward is not in the earthly reward, the gold at the end of the rainbow, it’s about humbly reflecting the love of Christ through service to others without seeking reward.

Apparently, Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, didn’t get the memo.

After God miraculously heals Naaman’s leprosy through Elisha, Gehazi is overcome with greed when Elisha refuses a reward because of Naaman’s gratitude. After Naaman leaves, Gehazi chases him down and deceives him into giving him money and clothes, which he keeps, lies about and is eventually exposed – and ultimately, punished with a lifetime ful of the very leprosy Elisha took from Naaman.

Elisha’s example here is a clear statement on what God commands about service in His name. It is a selfless (not selfish) endeavor, a humble act of love meant to express kindness and hope, projecting the image of Christ to a dark world that is lost.

I think of a true story that reflects just how bad it has become in our country today. And this is a true story. There is a state official, whose name will remain anonymous (he is still in office, for now), who used to be a member of his local school committee, a volunteer board, for more than 15 years. As a state official, he became involved with creating state employees pension reform, which would have disallowed employees from claiming time spent on volunteer boards on their pensions, and thus get a nifty little pension boost after they retire. This same official, before the law was passed, quickly jumped at his last opportunity, claiming his time spent on the School Committee, and nearly doubling his pension! Now, I’m no ethics expert, but isn’t there something just glaringly wrong about this? This person is a modern day Gehazi! This person’s work on the school committee was VOLUNTEER work, and here this person was, expecting to get paid handsomely for it! Just wrong.

The opposite should be true of us. The work we are doing for Christ warrants no earthly reward. The rewards we seek are in Heaven. The real spirit of service comes when we serve the LORD and shoe His love to others without reward. Jesus is our real Reward, the best gift of all.

So today, if you are involved in a ministry, doing volunteer work or just doing plain old good deeds for others, remember that a servant’s heart is not focused on the reward, but on the Reward – that’s a capital R!

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