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The Seven Deadly Sins - Greed
We live in a moment of history where consumer culture is at an all-time high. And what is consumer culture exactly? Wikipedia describes it as a “lifestyle hyper-focused on spending money to buy material goods. It is often attributed to, but not limited to, the capitalist economy of the United States.”
With technology being integrated into almost every aspect of our lives comes an opportunity for ads and marketing to have a constant streamline to us. And I don’t know about you, but I have a love-hate relationship with some of the shopping influencers I follow on Instagram. I’ve purchased things from an Amazon link on an IG story too many times. I’m going to take a leap and assume that you, too, have probably found yourself in the trap of consumer culture at some point or another.
Today, we’re diving into another one of the seven deadly sins: greed. But before we look to the scriptures to see what God says about the subject, let’s start with a solid definition of greed. Often, when I think of greed, I think only of money, wanting more and more without being satisfied with what I already have. But realistically, greed is much more than just a desire for monetary wealth.
Merriam-Webster defines greed as “a selfish and excessive desire for more of something than is needed.” That definition hits a little closer to home now that I’m thinking about it in a larger scope.
So, in comes that word again — greed. Greed comes so easily in a culture where you’re constantly being told that you don’t have enough. And really, isn’t it just like our enemy to lie to us to keep us focused on the wrong things? Because the idea that we don’t have enough truly is a lie at the end of the day.
Did you know that the 2021 medium household income in America was $71,000? That’s significant because an income of $71,000 puts you in the top 4% of the wealthiest people IN THE WORLD, according to a website called Giving What We Can. If you make over $60,000, you are in the top 1% of the wealthiest people worldwide. How is that possible?
As of 2021, the medium worldwide income is $2,800 per YEAR. I’m unsure how you feel reading those stats, but I was shocked. And once the shock wore off, I felt kind of perplexed. How is it possible to be among some of the wealthiest people in the world, according to worldly standards, yet still feel like we don’t have enough? Greed. Oof. Heart check, am I right?
We often hear the figure of speech: “Money is the root of all evil.” But is that a biblical proverb? Does the Bible say that money is evil? That commonly used string of words is missing a key section: for the LOVE…
The full verse states: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” 1 Timothy 6:10
That’s a perfect picture of greed, in my opinion. A love for money and everything it can buy is so intense it takes root deep in our hearts and pulls us in directions that weren’t meant for us. Jesus tells us in Luke 12, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Both passages warn us about one main thing: our heart posture. When it comes to money and possessions, where is your heart? Are you idolizing the blessing over the blesser? Does work take priority in your heart over your relationship with Jesus? Does buying that thing [whatever it is] bring you more joy and excitement than spending time in the Word? Are you more inclined to hang on to your money and earthly possessions rather than give to those in need? I think we’ve all been in a position where we have said yes to one or more of those questions, and I think that’s the point. Our Father in Heaven is good and loves us deeply. And out of His great love for us comes warnings and guidelines that help us lead lives that not only bring us joy but others too. Lives that ultimately glorify Him.
Buying that next great thing feels great for a little while, but the feeling doesn’t last long. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a new article of clothing and told myself I’d never let it get wrinkled or stained, but guess what? After weeks, months, and years — many of those items I thought I’d love forever are now hanging on a rack somewhere in the Salvation Army. Or maybe they’ve found a new home by now — I hope so. Anyway, the point is that feelings of worldly gratification don’t last long.
We are beings designed in the image of God, so we were created to love, worship, and desire good things. But, in a fallen world of sin and greed, we far too often confuse the things of this world to be replacements to satisfy our souls than what we’ve really been created for, which is to worship and desire for God and His will and blessings in our lives.
Let this be a reminder today to take a moment, check our hearts, and pray that God gives us the mercy and grace to resist the temptation of greed and worldly satisfaction and to find instead our true satisfaction in our relationship with Him and in His Word.