Elisha and Gehazi
God used Elisha in a marvelous ways. At his command, Naaman dipped himself in the river of Jordan and was healed of leprosy. Although he was reluctant at first, to do this simple act of faith; later he obeyed. When he found that he was healed, he wanted to pay back for the miracle.
In most cultures and religions, prayer is like doing a purchase – bargain. The receiver of the services/ blessings/ boon promises to pay something. For example, a young man may pray for success in his interview and promise to pay Rs. 500 as offering of gratitude. Another person for the same service may fix a higher or lower price. The flexi-pricing of the customers determine the cost of services. Naaman, who comes from a culture that considers prayers and answers of prayers as seller-customer transaction; wants to pay for the miracle to Elisha. Prophet Elisha just refuses to receive any. Answers for prayers, God’s miracles, and blessings are not up for sale and sale with discounts. Jehovah God answers prayers out of His Grace and Mercy and what we receive are Gifts without price tag. God loves the relationship rather than a transaction.
However, Gehazi thought differently. Elisha was too simple, lenient towards this ‘big fish’ and missed a great opportunity to become self-reliant, if not start of a luxurious life. Gehazi runs after Naaman troupe and gets gifts. By getting those gifts, Gehazi fixed a price of the miraculous healing. “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—or olive groves and vineyards, or flocks and herds, or male and female slaves? Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and his skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.” (II Kings 5: 26-27)
When prayer is seen as a transaction and not relationship; a commodity to be traded and not gift of mercy; commercialization is inevitable. Hence, we see so many ‘middle-men of God’ portray themselves as ‘men of God’. Elisha was a ‘Man of God’ while Gehazi was ‘middle-man for God’.