There can be stark contrast in our community of faith. Most of the contrast is due to the fact not everyone who says that they are part of God’s Kingdom is pursuing God’s plan for living out faith. In this story we see contrast between two people who are supposed to be on the same page when it comes to God’s plans for the world. The problem comes in that one person had assumptions about the best plan for everyone that did not match the character of God and the other did.
Gehazi was Elisha’s servant. Elisha had just led Naaman to healing and had sent him away without accepting any gifts. It was a time of drought, making it a time of need. It is in this moment that Gehazi makes a bold decision. It was a moment of risk and danger. The only problem is that he decides to risk for his own self improvement instead of risking for the betterment of someone else. He knew the Naaman was not an Israelite and that he had a pagan history. Although Naaman begins to honor God from his experience, all that Gehazi sees is someone not worth grace and blessing. Gehazi thinks that being part of God’s chosen people means that he deserves blessing. In his eyes, the Israelites did Naaman a favor, so he owed him. What Gehazi does not get is that God is a grace filled entity, something that Elisha, his master, fully gets. When we read the story, it would make sense that with the way God heals Naaman, although humbling, that his intention is healing anyone and everyone that wants healing. God is in the business of giving with no strings attached. Gehazi was in the business of getting payment for services rendered.
When we read of Elisha in the following story, it can seem that this is just some cool story that is almost magical. Not many people see floating axeheads, and if you did, it would be very mind-blowing. But that is not the point of this story. The important part of this story comes alive when we consider what this event meant for the man who borrowed the axe. Losing this axehead meant that he owed a tool to the owner. If he could not supply a new tool, which would have been a big deal in that day, he would be indebted to the owner and may have been put into a temporary servant or slave role for that owner. When he approaches Elisha, Elisha gets that this is an urgent situation. Things could go very wrong for this individual very quickly. Instead of entering a the panic, Elisha begins to seize his God given moment to be a hero of faith. It’s in that moment, where there is a drought that was mentioned earlier in this book that was never said to have ended yet. It is a time of great need. Every resource matters. This is a moment of weakness.
We have a choice to reflect Gehazi or Elisha. Are we the kind of people that chase greed, ethnic pride, selfishness, spite, etc.? Or are the kind of people the reach across boundaries and produce moments of healing, grace, and blessing? God is calling us towards the healing and benefit that His kingdom is bringing to humanity and the world. Christianity in its history has had its fair share of not reflecting what God is doing in history, but at certain moments, we have seen people rise to the calling that God is putting on humanity and made a difference that saved people from a life of hurt and death. These moments exist every day in our lives. If we seek out the needs of others, we can find a way to live God’s dream and be hero of faith. It is much easier to live out what Gehazi lived out, but the way that changes the world for the best is found in what Elisha discovered, that is God’s plan being the best way to live.