The Oprah Effect

2 Kings 5
Is this the time to receive
money and clothing,
olive groves and
vineyards, sheep and
cattle, and male and
female servants?

While managing media and public relations
for a handful of leading Washington, DC based
nonprofits, I found that nearly every
organization I worked for craved recognition on The
Oprah Winfrey Show. Their aspiration came as no
surprise. Oprah Winfrey, after all, is “The queen of talk,
a cultural and financial icon and her impact on business
(and charities) is worth billions,” according to CNBC host
Carl Quintanilla. “Oprah Winfrey is the most influential
woman in America—maybe in the world.”

Experts have coined the term “The Oprah Effect” to
describe her unparalleled ability to boost companies’
bottom lines and to take organizations from no name to
brand name. Some of us would love to benefit from the
Oprah Effect, or most any other “rainmaker.” We can
readily imagine what we would do with the potential
added resources. Many of us would likely give more to the
poor, expand our influence, and live more comfortably.
Scripture states, however, that there are times when
we must refrain from pursuing or receiving material gifts.
In the case of the prophet Elisha, for example, it would
have been wrong for him to request or accept gifts for the
healing of Naaman’s leprosy (2 Kings 5:15-16).

Elisha knew that if he accepted Naaman’s “thank you”
gift, the army commander would credit man, not God, for
his healing. So even when Naaman persisted, Elisha stood
firm, saying, “As surely as the Lord lives . . . I will not accept any gifts” (v.16).
I know a sports chaplain who refuses to accept gifts from the professional
athletes he works with because he doesn’t want them to question his motives. He
simply wants to teach them the Word of God.

Today, consider when you should refuse a gift in order to point someone to God.
—Roxanne Robbins

• Genesis 14:22-23
• Acts 20:33
• 1 Thessalonians 2:9

List some instances where
you might miss God’s
blessings by accepting
material gifts. When is it
appropriate to give and
receive material gifts?