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Treasure To End All Treasure

Updated: Jan 19

This story is a decade old, but I am still going to leave out the name.


There is a big chain store, that despite a $17 billion profit in 2013, only paid their employees minimum wage, and some say it is costing taxpayers by doing so.


According to a study released by Congressional Democrats 10 years ago, the low wages at just one store cost taxpayers $900,000 per year. The reason? Because workers are forced to rely on programs such as food stamps and Medicaid just to get by.


Big Box Store Greed.


The company also threatened to pull three planned stores in Washington, D.C. after the city council passed a bill earlier that summer requiring big box retailers in the city to pay their workers at least $12.50 an hour.


Greed.


There is an old Norse Proverb that says, “Deceit sleeps with greed” and nothing could be truer in the following story.


Yesterday I wrote about Naaman and the young servant girl whose simple sentence of faith, changed the course of one man’s life, if not history itself: “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 2 Kings 5:3 ESV


We left off yesterday in verse 19 with Elisha telling Naaman to go in peace after Naaman's miraculous healing in the river.


The servant girl did her part. Naaman did his part. God did the healing. Elisha refused payment, and Naaman’s life would never be the same.


Wonderful ending!


What I did not know about the story, or perhaps I forgot, was the story did not end well for a certain man by the name of Gehazi.


Naaman was healed. I can only try to imagine how that trip home must have felt. He had to have been one of the happiest men alive at that moment. Maybe he was whistling a happy tune as he pulled away from Elisha’s house. Maybe he was laughing and retelling to his men what had just happened to him. We don’t know any of that conversation, but we are told in verse 19 that Naaman had only gone a short distance when Elisha’s servant caught up with him.


When Naaman saw Gehazi running after him, he got down from his chariot to meet him, asking him if everything was alright? What Naaman did not know, is Gehazi had greed in his heart. And because deceit sleeps with greed, Gehazi was prepared to lie.


“Gehazi said, “Everything is all right. My master has sent me. He said, ‘Two young men from the groups of prophets in the mountains of Ephraim just came to me. Please give them seventy-five pounds of silver and two changes of clothes.’”


Naaman said, “Please take one hundred fifty pounds,” and he urged Gehazi to take it. He tied one hundred fifty pounds of silver in two bags with two changes of clothes. Then he gave them to two of his servants to carry for Gehazi.


When they came to the hill, Gehazi took these things from Naaman’s servants and put them in the house. Then he let Naaman’s servants go, and they left.


When he came in and stood before his master, Elisha said to him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?”


“I didn’t go anywhere,” he answered.


But Elisha said to him, “My spirit was with you. I knew when the man turned from his chariot to meet you. This isn’t a time to take money, clothes, olives, grapes, sheep, oxen, male servants, or female servants. So Naaman’s skin disease will come on you and your children forever.” When Gehazi left Elisha, he had the disease and was as white as snow.” - 2 Kings 5:19-27 NCV


One man’s greed changed his life and the life of his family. He would be the outcast; he would suffer for his greed and his lies; his life would never be the same.


Proverbs 12:22 tells us that lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.


Ephesians 4:25 tells us to put away falsehood and speak the truth.


And Matthew 6:20 tells us to store our treasure in heaven.


There is nothing wrong with wealth. There is nothing wrong with money. Where it gets messy is when we love money more than our fellow man and we are willing to lie to obtain it.


Matthew 6:24 tells us we cannot serve God and mammon. Some translations say money.

christianity.com says the term mammon stems from the Greek word mammonas and related root words appear in Hebrew, Latin, and Aramaic.


"In short, mammon can be defined as "earthly goods; property; riches." Mammon is the things of this world that can divert our attention and love from God to the pleasures and comforts of earthly desires. Although mammon can provide fleeting happiness, ultimately it is a deadly distraction from the salvation of our souls."


God has a plan, and it is grand.


Keep your eyes on Jesus and “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 ESV



by Jeanette Stark - Thursday, January 12, 2023

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