Good Greed?

Jesus said to the crowd, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” – Luke 12:15

Uncertainty. That may be the only thing on the horizon. Uncertainty in the economy. Uncertainty in health care. Uncertainty in the job market. The list could go on endlessly. Because there is so much uncertainty it is easy to develop questionable practices. There is a natural tendency to hoard things. There is also a tendency to want even more. This desire to want more leads to an unfortunate philosophy: “Get all you can get, and if you can, get even more.”

In contrast to this kind of thinking Jesus issues a warning. He uses two very strong exhortations. Both are used to uncover the serious nature of all kinds of greed.

The warning is appropriate. Greed, or the love of more, is a sin that plagues rich and poor alike. It becomes especially powerful when people have less. It is a sin of which I need to be particularly aware. It can come at any time. It can capture my thoughts. It can color my decisions. It can even affect my actions. Not only do I need to be aware of the sin of greed, I also need to repent of it. I need to turn away from the love of possessions, and turn my love to the Lord.

Here is where greed can be good. To make the Lord my only love, my complete joy, and my one pursuit is good. To have his will take hold of my will is also good. To color my actions and decisions on the basis of his Word is equally good.

This change in my thoughts and actions can only come through Jesus. Not only does he teach me about being rich to God, he also offers me that wealth. It is given through his blood-bought forgiveness. It is received through his promise of lasting joy. It is offered through his invitation to be content in his loving care. This is the wealth I need, and the wealth I desire to have in abundance.

Yes, these are uncertain times. I may be tempted to look for stability in gaining more wealth and possessions. These can be lost. This is why I need to look to Jesus for the stability he alone can give. What he offers can never be lost. My greed for more of everything my Savior gives is good.

Prayer:

Jesus, priceless treasure, fount of purest pleasure, truest Friend to me.
Ah, how long in anguish shall my spirit languish, yearning, Lord for thee?
Thou art mine, O Lamb divine!
I will suffer naught to hide thee, Naught I ask beside thee. Amen.

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