After working for a Plumbing Wholesaler for over 12 years, I was promoted to Branch Manager in a different city than where I lived. Within one year after my promotion, our branch rose to be number three in sales and number one in profit. Prior to my arrival, the success of the San Bernardino office was great. Good location, long time customers, a good mix of accounts with good accountability in receivables. By the second year of my promotion, the branch grew even more successfully. Our sales position was still the same corporately and we were still tops in profit, but by a higher percentages. The owner of the company had a home in Arrowhead Springs and would spend the weekends there, away from his office in Los Angeles. He would call me every Friday afternoon when he arrived at his retreat and would ask how the branch became so prosperous the preceding month. My answer to his question was always the same. “There was a good foundation of people before I got here Fred. I just started building on that strong foundation.” In 1980, I was transferred to the state of Washington at the branch in Renton. They were one of the best branches in the Northwest at the time and home of the regional manager. After one year there, we went from being near the top in sales and profit to the bottom of the ladder. Every night when I drove home I asked myself the same question. How could I go from the top of the ladder in sales and profit at t one location, to the bottom at a different location in a year? There were a lot of unseen problems before I arrived but that is another story. I look back at the reasons today and can see the difference between success at one location and lack of success in a different location. “FOUNDATIONS” or people. Jesus talks to us in Matthew 7:24-26 regarding strong foundations V.S. building on sand. With that in mind, I want to switch to todays subject of “PURITY: The Gateway for Miracles and Prosperity“.
2 Timothy 2:19, “But the firm foundation of (laid by) God stands, sure and unshaken, bearing this seal (inscription): The Lord knows those who are His, and, Let everyone who names [himself by] the name of the Lord give up all iniquity and stand aloof from it.”
2 Timothy 2:21 continues, “So whoever cleanses himself [from what is ignoble and unclean, who separates himself from contact with contaminating and corrupting influences] will [then himself] be a vessel set apart and useful for honorable and noble purposes, consecrated and profitable to the Master, fit and ready for any good work.“
“The firm foundation of (laid by) God stands…” for all of us who say we are believers. God knows whose real and who are those pretending to know; the religious, the chameleons, the pretenders in our midst. Paul goes on to tell Timothy that “purity” is the foundation or “The Gateway for Miracles and Prosperity”. Also, in verse 21 mentions that only “sanctified vessels” enter the “Gateway”. A “vessel“; a pure heart is fit and ready for any good work.
The Old Testament has a lot of examples, showing evidence of people who thought they were fit and ready for any good work. Turn with me to 2 Kings 4 and look at a story, concerning Elisha the Prophet’s servant, Gehazi. A Shunammite woman had received a miracle of a child, as prophesied by Elisha. The son of the woman sounded like he could have a severe migraine headache and was bedridden and unconscious. Elisha gives his servant his staff and gives him directional steps to heal the young man. Was he successful? NO SUCCESS!— 2 Kings 4:29, 31.
Let’s pick the story up on Gehazi, Elisha’s servant once more in 2 Kings 5:20-26. Again he has another opportunity, or second chance given to him by his master. Entering the scene is Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria. Naaman contracts leprosy and the king sends him to Israel’s king with a bunch of money to perhaps promote a healing. The king of Israel surely wants the financial gain but knows he can’t heal anyone of leprosy. Now Elisha hears of the story and sends good old Gehazi to bring the commander to him. Naaman is surprised when he obeys the invitation and after arriving at the Prophet’s specified place, Elisha doesn’t come out of the house. He sends a messenger outside with the healing instructions. Naaman is mortified! “I thought he (Elisha) would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and heal the leper.” Verse 11. “Where’s the big show here?” The commander from Syria, follows Elisha’s specific instructions, in spite of his anger and is healed. He tells Gehazi that he is so grateful of the miracle given, he wants to give a gift to his master. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Gehazi”s eyes grew large when Naaman mentioned “gifts”. He returns to tell Elisha of the great news but Elisha says, “As the Lord lives, before Whom I stand, I will accept none.” (verse 16). I don’t know if Gehazi thought this or even may have said, “You got to be kidding me Elisha!”
We pick up the conversation in Verse 20. “BUT Gehazi the servant of Elisha the man of god, said, Behold, my master spared this Naaman the Syrian, in not receiving from his hands what he brought. BUT as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.” Gehazi had seen the dollar signs! “Never look at gifted horse in the mouth”…just take it away from the horse. In verse 25, Gehazi is questioned by his master regarding his little escapade. “He (Gehazi) went in and stood before his master. Elisha said, Where have you been, Gehazi? When you were a kid, did your mom or dad ever ask that same question, “Where have you been?” and you know right then, whatever the answer you give; You are dead meat! Has Gehazi closed the Gateway for any miracles or prosperity in his life because of a un-pure heart?
Verse 26-27 answers the question, “Elisha said to him, Did not my spirit go with you when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Was it time to accept money, garments, olive orchards, vineyards, sheep, oxen, menservants, and maidservants?” Elisha knew Gehazi had a wrong attachment to money by his disobedience and a un-pure heart. When I was a kid, I knew disobedience always had a consequence. Sometimes it was physical and sometimes I was punished by something I desired being withheld from me. In this story, the results from Gehazi’s wrong way of thinking are revealed in the last verse of Chapter 5.
Verse 27, “THEREFORE the leprosy of Naaman shall cleave to you and to your offspring forever. And Gehazi went from his presence a leper as white as snow.” PURITY is The Gateway for Miracles and Prosperity. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He who covers his transgressions will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes his sins will obtain mercy.”
PURITY is an important clue to uncover in finding the truth about prosperity and successful living. Gehazi’s ending sounds harsh and it was but the story contains the evidence necessary in bringing the message home. We will continue to gather more evidence in this important “foundation” of “The Order of a Prosperous Life” series next.