In the account of the miraculous healing of Namaan the Syrian at the hands of Elisha at Samaria, we see an example of something that is all too common today in the churches. Elisha had a servant named Gehazi and this is what happened after Namaan was healed and after Elisha had declined to take payment from him:
2Ki 5:19-27 He said to him, “Go in peace.” But when Naaman had gone from him a short distance, (20) Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, “See, my master has spared this Naaman the Syrian, in not accepting from his hand what he brought. As the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something from him.” (21) So Gehazi followed Naaman. And when Naaman saw someone running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him and said, “Is all well?” (22) And he said, “All is well. My master has sent me to say, ‘There have just now come to me from the hill country of Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of clothing.’”
(23) And Naaman said, “Be pleased to accept two talents.” And he urged him and tied up two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of clothing, and laid them on two of his servants. And they carried them before Gehazi. (24) And when he came to the hill, he took them from their hand and put them in the house, and he sent the men away, and they departed.
(25) He went in and stood before his master, and Elisha said to him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” And he said, “Your servant went nowhere.” (26) But he said to him, “Did not my heart go when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Was it a time to accept money and garments, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male servants and female servants? (27) Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever.” So he went out from his presence a leper, like snow.
There are many Gehazis in the churches today. They are also motivated in their “call” to Christian ministry by greed. Greed for money. Greed for exaltation and reputation. These kind are often evidenced by the manner in which they deal with the oppressed and abused. Anything or anyone that threatens their position and rewards (“filthy lucre” as the old KJV calls it) must be done away with. The pews and the coffers must be full, the career ladders must be climbed. Nothing can stand in the way. And anyone who is revealing evils such as sexual abuse or domestic violence within such a man’s kingdom….well….they just need to stop it and be quiet.
I wonder what kind of crown these kind are going to receive from the Lord? Somehow, I don’t think it will be the crown of glory Peter talks about here:
1Pe 5:1-4 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: (2) shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; (3) not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. (4) And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.