HAVE you ever wanted something very much?—* If so, you are like most people. But should you try to get what you want by telling a lie?— No, you shouldn’t. A person who does that is greedy. Let’s see how a man named Gehazi was ruined by greed. He was a servant of Elisha, a prophet of the true God, Jehovah.
Elisha and Gehazi lived long ago, about a thousand years before God’s Son, Jesus, was born on earth. Jehovah used Elisha to do really wonderful things—to perform miracles! For example, the Bible tells about an important man in the Syrian army who had the bad disease leprosy. No one could heal him, but Elisha does.
When Elisha is used by God to help people get well, he never accepts money. Do you know why?— Because Elisha knows that those miracles come from Jehovah—not himself. When Naaman is healed, he is so happy that he wants to give Elisha gifts of gold, silver, and fine clothes. Elisha won’t take anything, but Gehazi wants these gifts very much.
After Naaman leaves, Gehazi chases after him without telling Elisha. When he catches up with Naaman, do you know what Gehazi tells him?— ‘Elisha sent me to tell you that two visitors just came. He would like to have two changes of clothes so that he can give them to the men.’
But that is a lie! Gehazi has made up the story about the two visitors. He tells it because he wants to have the clothes that Naaman tried to give to Elisha. Naaman, of course, does not know this. So he is happy to give Gehazi the gifts. Naaman even gives more things to Gehazi than Gehazi asks for. Do you know what happens next?—
When Gehazi gets back home, Elisha asks him: ‘Where have you been?’
‘Oh, nowhere,’ Gehazi answers. Jehovah, however, has let Elisha know what Gehazi has done. So Elisha says: ‘This is no time to accept money and clothes!’
Gehazi has taken money and clothes that do not belong to him. So God makes Naaman’s leprosy come upon Gehazi. What do you think we can learn from this?— One thing it teaches us is that we should not make up and tell stories that are not true.
Why did Gehazi make up a story that was, in fact, a lie?— It was because Gehazi was greedy. He wanted to have what did not belong to him, and he tried to get those things by lying. Because of this he suffered a terrible disease for the rest of his life.
Really, Gehazi suffered something worse than leprosy. Do you know what that was?— It was the loss of God’s favor, the loss of his love. May we never do anything to cause us to lose that! Instead, let us be kind and ready to share the things we have.
If you are reading with a child, the dash provides a reminder to pause and encourage the child to express himself.