Greed is not only a problem for other people

Greed is not only a problem for other people

Greed is one of those sins that creeps up on you. You see it in the lives of other people. It is easy to silently pass judgement on that person who bought that luxury car or lives a lifestyle you would be uncomfortable with. If your name doesn’t appear on some list of the wealthiest people, then you think that greed cannot be your biggest problem. But, over time, the love for things can grip your heart. You start off the Christian life committed to a simple life and extreme generosity. Then you get a pay rise, you buy a house, you creep into seeing shopping as recreation, and then you lie awake dreaming of the new phone or next holiday. Greed can overtake your thinking and your life.

The rich young man of Matthew 19 had a problem with greed. When Jesus listed commandments and asked if the young man had kept them, he could honestly say yes. At least as much as anyone could. But Jesus knew his heart and left out the commandment about coveting, which was the man’s real problem. When asked to give up his wealth for the sake of the kingdom, this man was unwilling. When the choice became money or God, he was unable to choose God.

Be honest. Is greed a problem for you? How might you know? Well, what gets you excited? What do you dream about in idle moments? Is it always things, experiences, what the next thing might be? Do you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to others in terms of their house, car or lifestyle? If so, you need to repent. This is no small matter. Jesus spoke loudly and often about the danger of money, and in our modern culture the threat is even greater.

If you know greed is a problem, and it is for most of us, what might you do about it? There are two prongs to answering this:

  1. You need to work hard to repent and stop feeding your greed. Don’t spend all your time following the Google rabbit hole chasing the next purchase. Decide not to go to shopping centres for recreation; only go if you need something. Stop watching those TV shows that feed greed and comparisons like travel shows and home renovation competitions. These things are all pushing you towards being discontent with what God has given to you.
  1. You need to replace your love for things with love for Jesus. Spend time actively thanking God for his kindness to you with what you have right now. Get back into Bible reading and prayer, read Christian books that will stimulate your thinking. Look for opportunities to serve, not just to serve yourself something else.

Greed is a pandemic in our materialistic world. Don’t accept it as normal because everyone else has a similar problem to you. Actively put it to death. There is a better way, which leads to more contentment, and which honours your Father in heaven. Seek contentment and a life of thankful service; it is far better than the next thing or experience.