Oh, certainly not! Would any of us admit that we are attracted by or pulled towards greed? How many of us hold too tightly to money or stuff? Is your house cluttered with things you just can’t let go of? Do you become anxious when the stock market goes down, you know those big drops that happen in just a few hours? Does your dream of winning the lottery or a giant sweepstakes cause you to go out and purchase tickets beyond your budget?
Much of what I am about to share was a part of my pastor’s sermon yesterday morning. Larry Burkett wrote a whole book on “What the Bible Says About Money” and yes, it is still on my shelf. I will be using this source as well as my notes from yesterday.
Living a life free from greed is mentioned often as we read the pages of Scripture. Why would God write about this topic so much? Because each of us is inclined to be anxious concerning our finances or the things we own. If we are not budgeting, we don’t know how we will pay that next big bill, especially those unexpected ones. Can you let go of all those things you own? I mean sell them and never look back? We may conquer our greed on one level but we must be vigilant daily to not get back into the self-indulgence mode.
Our joy in life comes from only One, God and God alone!
When we become anxious, we must remember: 1. Our worry cannot change the situation. 2. There are more important things in life than what we eat or wear. 3. Worry is the attitude of pagans. We, as Christ-followers, should not be concerned about material thing as it shows a lack of trust in God. Are we pursuing spiritual matters?
In seeking spiritual matters, we must check our heart. Are we self-absorbed, thinking that we need things that we certainly can get along without? We’ve already established that God will provide our needs such as food and clothing and safe shelter. It may not be what we desire but it is enough. Greed is never satisfied! Luke 12:15 puts it this way, “Then He (Jesus) said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
Aw, but you say that people do see what we have and determine how important we are. True to some extent, but I remember a time when someone said to me, “they are rich”. My question was “how do you know? By the things they have? They could be in debt up to their eyeballs!” We are delusional if we think we can ever satisfy greed.
When we read all of Luke 12, we see a theme arise, that of being diligent to pursue God, to learn to trust in Him only and to run from greed. God owns everything and the Holy Spirit will guide you. When you reject that guidance, you are rejecting God Himself. Where is your true wealth? In heaven, safe from theft and decay. Be rich toward the things of God: giving generously to God’s work through your local church and missions? Are you generous with your family concerning the time you spend with them and meeting their needs? Are you giving to your friends in a way that they need? Perhaps just to listen to them and lend a helping hand when needed. Time seems to be the one thing that we need to budget more closely so as to meet those needs of spending time with those we care about.
Do you ask God to help you make every decision in your life? I once had someone tell me that they “talked” to God about the big decisions but didn’t bother Him with the little ones. I liken this to what I tell people about budgeting, “save those pennies and the dollars will come.” If God isn’t in your small decisions, do you honestly think you will go to Him with the big ones? The most important decision being for you to turn your life (totally) over to the One who will be there at all times.
Are you truly content with what God has given you? That one has been a hard one for me but I have had to work diligently daily seeking His face rather than looking to one more desire to fill my life. Only a prideful person would say they don’t struggle with this. It’s been a struggle since Adam and Eve, so stay humble by always looking to God.
Finally, manage your money wisely, with eternity in mind. I am not sure where I heard this and not sure exactly how it is said but it helps get the point across: Tell me who you love and I will tell you who you are. If we budget, always keeping God in mind of whether we need, want or desire an item, we will see the needs of others more often. We will give to the needs of others with a joyful heart because we realize that it is not our own but all we have belongs to God. Where is your heart bent on this day?