e-devotionals.org 2003-12-10 - Greed

Fatal Distractions Series, Part 7

“Don’t be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry.”Colossians 3: 5 (New Living)

Greed is defined as hoarding something that has value from others, when we have more than enough for ourselves. Most commonly we relate greed to Ebenezer Scrooge, as he hoarded his money. But greed is not confined to money matters. There are other possessions we hoard, also. For example, our gifts, talents and time are stockpiled and put aside. The Body of Christ, the Church, functions only when every person gives freely not only their finances, but their talents, gifts and time as well. Greed has many forms. Let’s look at the lies about greed.

The Lies About Greed

Greed is an insatiable desire to have more and more. Once a farmer stated, “all I want is the land next to mine; then I will be happy.” It is a never ending cycle.

When I Have More – Then I’m More Happy

When I have , then I’ll be happy.

When I have more money, time, kids, no kids at home, a bigger house, and a new car and on and on the list goes. Greed causes us to climb the wrong ladder. We get to the top and see there is more on the ladder beside the one we climbed. The “when and then” ladder of greed leads to nowhere.

When I Have More – I’m More Important

Jesus said, “Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot." Luke 12: 15 (The Message)

Life is defined by how we handle what God has entrusted us to hold. Our life should never be defined by how much importance we perceive that others place on us.

When I Have More – I’m More Secure

“Rich people trust their wealth to protect them. They think it is like the high walls of a city.” Proverbs 18: 11 (New Century)

When we realize that we actually own nothing, and that God is merely lending us for a short time all that we have, our money, time and talents take on new meaning. It is crucial to grasp this concept. Nothing is truly ours.

The common thread running through the lies is that more is better. The truth is that sometimes less is better. More usually brings on more responsibilities, more problems and more worries. On the other hand, less can bring contentment. Greed can not be satisfied.

God's Truth About "More"

More Does Not Satisfy

“He who loves money will never have enough.” Ecclesiastes 5: 10 (Living Bible)

After the stock market tumbled from unprecedented highs, we saw how fleeting money can become. People that were once feeling very satisfied, but wanting more, lost billions of dollars. God never leaves or forsakes us. His love provides the ultimate satisfaction in our lives.

More Attracts Unreliable Friends

“The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what is the advantage of wealth - except perhaps to watch it run through your fingers!” Ecclesiastes 5: 11 (New Living)

Long lost relatives will come hunt you down if you come into money. Lottery winners are preyed upon by greedy con artists. Money can not buy real friends, but it certainly attracts false friends.

More Increases Worry

“People who work hard sleep well, whether they eat little or much. But the rich are always worrying and seldom get a good night's sleep.” Ecclesiastes 5: 12 (New Living)

Think about what you worry the most about. Are they temporal material items of wealth that you are hoarding? We worry about our house when we are at the beach; we worry about the beach house when we are home. As we accumulate more and more, our worries increase. What we believe we own, actually owns us.

More is Easily Lost

“There is another serious problem I have seen everywhere--savings are put into risky investments that turn sour, and soon there is nothing left …” Ecclesiastes 5: 13 (Living Bible)

Greed and fear move investment markets. Money flows in by greed wanting to have more and more money. Fear of losing money drives prices down. Sometimes we have so much we can not clutch it all in our hands, and what we have is lost.

GOD’S ANTIDOTE for GREED

Make a Budget

“Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind.” Proverbs 21: 5 (The Message)

“The wise person saves for the future, but the foolish person spends whatever he gets.” Proverbs 21: 20 (Living Bible)

Ok, now let’s get practical. There is nothing wrong with having wealth and possessions. But we become sinful with our wealth when we become accumulators and hoarders only. The Bible tells us to plan carefully for the future. Wise financial planning can be balanced with prudent giving.

Give

“You'll not likely go wrong here, if you keep remembering that Jesus said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive’.” Acts 20: 35 (The Message)

Giving is the key antidote to greed. Giving freely of our finances, time, talents and spiritual gifts acknowledges that all belongs to God. We are only borrowing these assets for our short time on Earth. Give God thanks for everything He has loaned you, to be a good steward of on earth.

Get to Know God

“But God showed his great love for us, by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5: 8 (New Living)

“You will never know that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you’ve got.” --Mother Teresa

Jesus truly can fulfill all our needs. He gives us meaning, importance and purpose. Jesus gives us security and satisfaction. Jesus attracts reliable friendships with other fully-developing followers. Jesus decreases worry and increases contentment. Jesus cannot be lost. He is the same today as yesterday and will be the same tomorrow. The more we know God, the more we appreciate and want to give instead of hoard.

Pursue Spiritual Goals

“The love of money causes all kinds of trouble. Some people want money so much that they have given up their faith and caused themselves a lot of pain. Timothy, you belong to God, so keep away from all these evil things. Try your best to please God and to be like him.1 Timothy 6: 10-11 (Contemporary English)

Ministries need money to function. Churches need money to keep their momentum going. However, churches can become greedy when they hoard their finances for only their own use. Strong churches have strong missions to help others. God allows some people to generate great wealth. Wealth alone is not sinful, only how we handle our wealth. When we truly realize and appreciate what Christ has done for us, we naturally unclench our fists and hearts to give. Pursuing spiritual goals opens our hearts for God to do His work through us.

Own your own:

I am most greedy with my ________________________________.

Points to ponder:

Am I giving God His share first?

Do I really grasp the fact that everything I have belongs to God?

What am I hoarding? My time? My talents? My spiritual gifts? My finances?

This week, I will pray for God to show me what I need to give.

David Massey

[email david] david@e-devotionals.org
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