Genesis 39:4-6; 2 Kings 4; 5; 8:1-6; Jeremiah 9:23, 24; John 13:1-17; 1 Timothy 6:10
Personal gain can move anyone—even God’s servants—away from the Lord’s agenda. It’s best for us to stop grasping for things we were not intended to receive.
Bibles, paper, pencils, markers
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- “It’s okay for me to take this.” Have you ever said that to yourself and then helped yourself to supplies in your workplace? “Just a little bit won’t hurt. After all, I don’t get paid what I’m worth anyway.” Share your experience with the group.
- As you listen to the stories, ask yourself, “What are the similarities in these stories? What are the differences?” What do the common threads teach you about how we rationalize in these situations?
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- Rationalization is rampant. Draw on a piece of paper a large set of eyeglasses. Inside one lens, jot down a couple of common excuses for stealing from your employer. In the other lens, write down a truth that will guide your work ethics.
- Thought Questions
Gehazi was Elisha’s servant. He was lucky to serve one of the greatest prophets in the Bible. Many stories show his involvement in miraculous events. Read 2 Kings 4:8-37 and put yourself in Gehazi’s place. How would you have felt?
- What a privilege! I would have thanked God every day to be so closely associated with Elisha.
- Perhaps like many jobs, it would have gotten “routine” for Gehazi—even the miracles.
- Seeing a dead boy raised to life would have sealed my faith in God’s power for the rest of my life!
- Gehazi seemed a little protective of Elisha in verse 27. I wonder why?
- Elisha involved Gehazi in too much of the detail work (verse 36); Gehazi was more of a big-picture person.
One of the greatest miracles of Elisha’s ministry was the healing of Naaman the leper. Read 2 Kings 5 and look closely at Gehazi’s actions. What do you think of his receiving the silver and clothing?
- I think he deserved some compensation. Too often God’s servants live in poverty and should get more.
- I think he deserved what he got (leprosy). He lied more than once and was absolutely deceptive.
- This incident reveals how one sin (greed) leads to another (lying).
- Can you identify Gehazi’s rationalization for getting what he wanted? (See verse 20.)
- It was admirable that Elisha tried to protect “new-believer” Naaman from his servant’s greediness.
A final story about Gehazi is found in 2 Kings 8:1-6. He is telling the king stories about Elisha’s miracles, including the miracle of the Shunammite’s son being restored to life. Just then the Shunammite woman comes to see the king. Read about the incident. Why is this event recorded in the Bible?
- It reveals how this “former servant” of Elisha is still so selfish (probably bragging about his important role).
- Gehazi appears to be looking for an audience with the king for his own gain or prestige.
- This incident shows how Gehazi continued on his downward path after his great failure with Naaman.
- God uses Gehazi’s boasting as an opportunity for the king to help the Shunammite woman.
- Gehazi and the woman of Shunam both came before the king, but only one of them walked away restored.
Gehazi failed as a servant of the man of God. What guidelines does the Bible give for being a true servant? Choose some of the following verses and discuss the marks of a real servant.
- Genesis 39:4-6
- Jeremiah 9:23, 24
- John 13:1-17
- 1 Timothy 6:10
- Acts 2:18
Applying the Message of the Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. After several minutes, report back to the larger group with your findings.
- Option 1: Using markers and a large sheet of paper, create a poster for your employer that discourages employees from stealing from the workplace.
- Option 2: What are some of the principles of good service? Using a waiter as an illustration, create a short skit about customers in a restaurant receiving service that demonstrates the attitudes and skills of service we might have in serving the Lord in the church.
- Option 3: Find three hymns or praise songs that speak of true service. Share the lyrics that especially point to the heart of a true servant.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Reflect quietly in your own heart on the answer to these questions: “Do I have a true heart of service for Christ? Or am I missing the mark? What are my real motives?”
- Pray in groups of two or three, asking God to fill your heart with a spirit of service during the coming week.
Next Week’s Scripture Focus:
Isaiah 8:20; 53:1-5; Jeremiah 7:1-11; 28; 45; Matthew 6:25-34