The fifth of the 7 Deadly Sins I want to zero in on in this series is Greed. So far Pride, Envy, Anger, and Sloth have been in the crosshairs and now it's time to blow Greed away.
Greed is a sin that all of us deal with. Whether we have little and desire more or have much and are just plain cheapskates, greed is an issue. Greed is an excessive desire for wealth and/or possessions. Who amongst us has not felt this excessive desire? Who hasn't coveted someone else's house or car or bankroll? Who hasn't kept the coins in their pocket rather than drop them in the bucket even though the money could be more than spared? Yes, Greed is a sin that we all deal with.
So, what makes greed so deadly?
Well, it is the root of all kinds of other evils. From theft to murder to stomach ulcers greed has caused ill on the earth and in our homes.
"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wondered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." 1 Timothy 6:10
Greed is idolatry. Our American money says "In God We Trust" but our hearts and actions often say "In Cash We Trust". Money is to many a functional savior. On Sunday we sing "Trust and Obey" and Monday through Saturday we trust in our money and possessions. Things like savings accounts and insurance policies are not bad in and of themselves but is that where your trust is? Is your identity in your socio-economic status or in your belonging to the family of God? Remember, those whose God is God get heaven, and those who put faith in other gods do not. This is indeed a deadly sin.
So, how do we fight Greed? I thought of three ways.
1) Find Contentment in Christ.
Paul gives this advice in Philippians 4:11-13 and 1 Timothy 6:6-10. The heart of one defeating Greed can honestly cry Christ is Enough. As C. S. Lewis said, "He who has everything and God has no more than he who has God only." Money and possessions will not and cannot give you the joy you're searching for, only Christ can.
2) Trust God
Jesus gives this exact advice in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:19-24. If Greed trusts in money then trusting in God is an antidote. This way to defeated Greed is easy to say and hard to do, but don't let its difficulty keep you from pursuing trust in God.
Our money draws a line to our heart. Give me your expenditures for the year and I can tell you what you love. Now, God doesn't need your cash but giving helps us defeat Greed. So, do you tithe? Do you ever give to a cause? Have you ever had to sacrifice to give? Scrooges don't give, but Christians should be very generous. Which are you?
"Do not store up for yourself treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21
Where is your treasure? Is Greed keeping you from the greatest wealth of all? If so, fight Greed today.