Greed – Loving Things instead of People.

Luke 12:15 is likely one of the hardest sayings of Jesus for Christians to practice from day to day. Not just because most people don’t know what coveting means, but because we don’t want to guard against it, when we learn what it is. Jesus enforces the 10th commandment but we rarely even pay attention to it. In this article, I’m not referring to single parents or to married spouses who must work because of financial adversity from just one income by their partner. But the grief that often comes through the neglect of children can’t be consoled by a bank balance. The love of money has caused many parents to hand their priceless children over to paid workers to care for them, not because they have to work, but because they choose to. They work either because they find their identity in a career rather than parenting, or because they want more things that money can buy and they won’t discipline themselves to live within the means of one sufficient wage. In this 21st century our society is a greedy capitalistic machine, destroying our nation from the inside out. See Ecclesiastes 5:10. For Christians that love money and allow greed to be a life-style, we get broken relationships, disappointments, and sorrows as self-inflicted wounds. They are the consequences of dethroning the Lord and enthroning money. That’s why the apostle Paul advised, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Tim. 6:17-19).

God permits us to have material blessings for enjoyment, but He isn’t concerned about our possessions. It’s our attitude He cares about. Are we arrogant because we think we are better than someone who is poorer? Do we put our hope in wealth that can be lost, or on God who is eternal? Do we enjoy our possessions as gifts from a loving heavenly Father? Do we enjoy our home, our china, our window treatments, our furniture, our interior decorating, our patio, our yard, our clothes, and our car? Or do we look at them with an ungrateful heart, especially if we’ve just come from visiting someone with a much nicer home, wardrobe, or car? When we have Christ’s perspective, God will bless us with a joyous heart to share with people who are in need because this pleases Him and helps us enjoy liberal giving with the purpose of passing on the Good News. If there is more gratitude in our heart for what we possess, than there is envy, then we will have the motivation to share when given the opportunity. This is not just an attitude towards money but with every physical gift we have. Please see 2nd Corinthians 9:7, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not …”

The condition of our heart is at the center of this disease in loving things instead of people. God’s Word begs us to run as fast as we can from the goal of acquiring material possessions. Recognize it, confess it as sin, and remember this Scripture, “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Tim. 6:11-12).

Instead of defining our worth by our bank accounts, God wants us to be rich in good deeds, to be generous with our money, and to share with those who need it. “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done” (Prov. 19:17). Perhaps the best Scripture to memorize in order to combat this human frailty is Hebrews 13:5. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have. Contentment is based on our expectations and the best expectation is the promise of an eternal inheritance, instead of material things or money which is so temporary in this life

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