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Monday, March 28, 2011

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2 Kings 5:1-15
Psalm 42:2-3; 43:3-4
Luke 4:24-30

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prosperity gospel?

"Naaman set out, taking along ten silver talents, six thousand gold pieces, and ten festal garments." —2 Kings 5:5

Naaman, the army commander of Aram, was a leper. He brought a great treasury of wealth (2 Kgs 5:5) to the prophet Elisha, hoping to obtain a cure for his leprosy. Elisha sent his servant Gehazi to tell Naaman to wash seven times in the Jordan River to be healed (2 Kgs 5:10). In gratitude, Naaman offered his treasures to Elisha, who would not accept the riches despite Naaman's urging (2 Kgs 5:15-16). Naaman then set out to return home.

Gehazi, Elisha's servant, watched Naaman and his treasures depart. Overcome by temptation, he thought: "My master was too easy with this Aramean Naaman, not accepting what he brought…I will run after him and get something out of him" (2 Kgs 5:20). Gehazi pursued Naaman and told him Elisha was asking for money and clothes (2 Kgs 5:22). Naaman gave him double his request (2 Kgs 5:23). Back home, Gehazi lied to Elisha, saying that he hadn't gone after Naaman. Elisha then said to Gehazi: "Is this a time to take money or to take garments?" (2 Kgs 5:26) Then the leprosy which had left Naaman was transferred to Gehazi (2 Kgs 5:27).

Some of you have humbly served for years in ministries. You do without so others can be blessed. You struggle to serve in faith, trusting God to provide for you and your ministry. Daily you labor in love and obscurity. It's easy to grow weary of doing without the resources you need. What if you experienced what Gehazi did: on one day in your ministry, you see an "easy" opportunity (2 Kgs 5:20) to prosper beyond your wildest dreams. What will you do in this sudden temptation? Will you fix your eyes on Jesus, or on the wealth before your eyes? Be Elisha, not Gehazi.

Prayer:  Jesus, make me pure in heart (Mt 5:8).

Promise:  "His flesh again became like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean." —2 Kgs 5:14

Praise:  When Maria's employer required her to sell contraceptives, she refused.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July27, 2010

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