The story of Elisha telling leprous Naaman (captain of the host of the King of Syria) to go dip himself seven times in river Jordan as to get healed, is a very popular one. It is one which is known even from childhood age. It has a lot to teach but there is one striking aspect of it I believe God wants to use this article to address.
After Naaman got healed, he came with some mind-blowing gifts (of which some Bible scholars say worth $77, 370 in gold and silver besides 10 changes of raiment) to show appreciation, but Elisha seeing that Naaman was yet a heathen and idol-worshipper wanted to use the opportunity to draw him to serve the living God of Israel by rejecting his offer. This stunned Naaman and made him vow to serve the living God of Israel till death.
As Naaman was departing to his destination, here comes running, Gehazi the servant of Elisha and lied to Naaman saying Elisha wanted some of the gifts for some persons who just came to him. Naaman was pleased and gave him more than he asked, and even escorting him with some of his servants. Little did he know that the end of his ministry was getting near.
Gehazi coming back with the gifts and hiding it, afterwards went to stand before Elisha again as though nothing happened but Elisha asked him a question I believe God wants to continually ring in our minds:
"Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?" (2Kings 5:26).
We all know the end of the story Gehazi who would have probably taken over from Elisha and done exploits for God's Kingdom (just as Elisha took over from Elijah), contracted the leprosy of Naaman with his seed forever.
Now, what is God saying? Is He saying we shouldn't receive tokens of appreciation? No, and a thousand times No! But if the gift will turn men from giving Him the glory due Him, we better not accept it.
I end with a story from my own life. While I was younger, God kept on doing extraordinary miracles and healings through me so much that my Mother and Sister one day came to me and said, "Okwy from today we have decided to pay our tithes to you. You are now our Pastor and Church". That was such a tempting offer because their tithes alone in few months would take me to another level of riches. Butwas it a time? I had to turn it down and re-focused their attention to what the Bible had to say concerning tithing.
Many people have seared their conscience with hot iron and gone the more into sin because they thought they've settled the price of the healings, miracles, salvation, deliverances, prophecies, breakthroughs, etc they got by 'paying off' the Minister. This has made them not give God the thanks, praise and adoration due Him even with their lives. May God bring us all to the level where we would rather choose to be called fools for God than receiving applause from men and end up not reaching the height God wants us to attain in our pursuits and purpose.