By Jared C. Wilson
Greed: How to Like (Not Love) Money and Stuff
In a society that hands out credit cards like Tic Tacs®, accumulating debt is just par for the course. Jesus talked about money and possessions so much you’d think His audience was typically full of rich people. It wasn’t, of course. He just knew what’s at the heart of every one of us, rich or poor, workaholics or lazybones—the love of stuff. Perhaps no snare is more common to fallen people than greed.
THE GREED TRAP
Tunnel vision about acquiring money creates such busyness, such a frantic, single-minded pursuit, that it prevents us from properly caring for those around us or even for ourselves. Greed traps us in three significant ways:
1. Greed traps us with its insatiability.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 says, “The one who loves money is never satisfied with money, and whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with income. This too is futile.”
There’s nothing wrong with making money, but when making money becomes a primary motivation for life itself, greed takes over. Many people deceive themselves into thinking they’ll stop pursuing wealth once they’ve gotten “there”—wherever there is. But when they arrive at their goal, suddenly there has become here, and there’s another there to get to.
2. Greed traps us with its related sins.
Paul warned Timothy: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains” (1 Timothy 6:10).
When we give ourselves over to greed, we open the door to all kinds of attendant sins. Greed can lead us to justify unethical business practices or outright theft. It can lead us to treat others with jealousy or contempt if they stand in our way or have what we want.
3. Greed traps us in ruin.
Sadly, financial devastation is just one way greed lays a trap for our ruin. It also snares us when we place a high value on money and possessions. If our heart is where our material treasures lie, our heart will be crushed when those treasures are gone—not if those treasures are gone, mind you, but when.
Proverbs 11:4 says, “Wealth is not profitable on a day of wrath, but righteousness rescues from death.”
The kingdom of God operates on a completely different system of currency. Jesus instructs us to hold stuff loosely. If somebody asks for your shirt, give him your coat, too. These aren’t ways to become rich—unless the reward we have in mind isn’t monetary. Jesus said that whatever is most precious to us will receive our greatest care and praise. And that’s why greed is ultimately not about what we do in our jobs or with our bank accounts, but what’s in our hearts.
Excerpt from Seven Daily Sins (Nashville: LifeWay Press, 2012), 58-73. Click here or on the book cover to order this resource from LifeWay.com.