Summary: This sermon encourages us to avoid taking shortcuts to get things at the expense of our spiritual lives. It looks at the life of Gehazi
Beware Of Taking Short Cuts
Today we are going to recognize those who have been promoted and those who have graduated and reached a new milestone in their lives. How many of you remember what it was like on that last day of school and you saw those words promoted to the next grade?
Promotions do not stop in life simply because we get out of school. There are promotions on our jobs, promotions in our families and promotions in our organization. But the most important promotions occur in our spiritual lives. As believers in God we are called to reach higher levels of promotion on a spiritual level. Promotions often require a certain amount of effort.
Suppose a good student has planned to spend the evening studying for his final exam, when he gets a call from a friend threatening to commit suicide. He has this test to study for, but he also loves his friend. He goes over to his friend’s house and spends time with him to keep him from doing this. By the time he gets home, he realizes he is not as prepared as for his exam as he had wanted to be and there’s not much time left to study. His final exam is 50% of his grade.
That next morning, someone comes to him and offers him a small cheat sheet to help him pass the exam. In the middle of the exam, he sees there are several things he does not know on the exam, He didn’t get a chance to study them. He needs to pass this exam to graduate. Does he go for the sheet and pass or does he risk failure and embarrassment by not graduating? That sheet could be his shortcut for success. What should he do?
Have you ever been in the place of being offered a short cut to get what you wanted? Is there anybody besides me who has discovered, some shortcuts are a lot more dangerous than we think. I remember back in my late teens I was driving my aunt and cousins to Ga from NY. When I got to GA, I was getting tired and I looked on a map and saw a short cut. If we left the main road and went on this new route, we could pick up the main road much further down without going around a lot of bends. It was late at night and I took this shortcut.
What I didn’t know was this shortcut, was a path through the Smokey Mountain National Park through a mountaneous region and the road as it traveled the mountains did not have guard rails all the time. It was the most terrifying drive of my life. Even though it was 3 in the morning everyone woke up to try to make sure we did not drive off the edge of the mountains. Instead of driving 55, I was doing about 15 mph. That shortcut cost me a lot of extra a time, a lot of unnecessary fear and anxiety and a whole lot of piece of mind.
Shortcuts are not always what they seem to be. Our lives are going to be full of the chance to take shortcuts. But remember at the end of the day, you and I will give an account to God for each shortcut that we take that take us outside of the will of God for our lives. I want you to meet a young man today, who tried to take a short cut with his life who really messed up big time. Who did not end up graduating.
He had been chosen by one of the prophets to be his servant. The prophet was grooming this young man to one day take his place as being a great spiritual leader to whom kings would look to for advice. The young man’s name was Gehazi.
His teacher was the great prophet Elisha. Elisha saw a lot of promise in Gehazi, and Elisha poured himself into developing this young man. The sky was the limit for him. We met Gehazi in our scripture reading this morning but his name, had not come up yet.
There was a great warrior by the name of Naaman who had a severe skin disease called leprosy. He was actually from a neighboring country and had been sent by the King of Aram to the King of Israel to be healed. The king of Israel had no way to heal this man and was terrified at the thought of trying to do it. But the prophet Elisha sent word to the King of Israel, saying “send Namaan to me and the man will know there is a God in Israel.”
Namaan went to Elisha’s house with his entourage of people. He was used to getting special attention wherever he went. He was one of the most powerful people in his country. Now when he got to Elisha’s he expected Elisha to be impressed with who he was and the gifts he had to offer to him.