Definition: Greed is the desire to acquire more than God has planned for us, especially in the areas of finances and possessions.
In America we understand this intuitively as something that afflicts our soul: 82 percent of Americans believe that most of us buy and consume far more than we need.
In Hank Ketcham's comic strip, "Dennis the Menace," Dennis is looking through a catalog saying, "This catalog's got a lot of toys I didn't even know I wanted."
A child's perspective:
If I like it, it's mine. If I can take it away from you, it's mine. If I had it a while ago, it's mine. If I say it is mine, it's mine. If it looks like mine, it's mine. If I say I saw it first, it's mine. If you're having fun with it, it's mine. If you lay down your toy, it's mine. If it is broken, it's yours.
God's Perspective on Greed... Greed Kills!
"Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:15-21).
1. Dissatisfaction with What You Have
Theme song of some of ourlLives, "Can't get no satisfaction..."
"Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this" (Psalm 37:4-5).
2. Compromising Your Values to Get Ahead
People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. (I Timothy 6:9)
Years ago, there was a movie that basically asked the question, "what would you do for a million dollars." Answer was... we have established what you are, now we're just quibbling over price.
3. Being Stingy with What You Have
"They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed" (Psalm 37:26).
"We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965).
4. Being Consumed with Making or Saving Money
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money" (Matthew 6:24).
Generosity 101... What does it look like?
Generosity is God's alternative to Greed. Just like Self Discipline is God's alternative to laziness, and Self Control His alternative to Lust, so Generosity is God's antidote to Greed.
"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God" (II Corinthians 9:6-11).
1) Generosity follows the law of the harvest
2) Generosity means giving cheerfully
3) Generosity means meeting needs in Jesus name
4) Generosity means thanksgiving to God
"Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work" (Exodus 36:6-7).
1) Generosity is an attitude NOT an amount.
True generosity isn't an occasional event. It comes from the heart and permeates every aspect of a leader's life, touching his time, money, talents and possessions (John Maxwell, The 21 Indispensible Qualities of a Leader).
2) Generosity is measured by cost NOT commotion.
"I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on" (Luke 21:3-4).
3) Generosity is about God's glory NOT our greed.
"And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability" (II Corinthians 8:1-3).
What God does in us, He wants to have done in others through us. He "blesses" us so that we can be a "blessing" to others.
What will you do this week to make sure that greed gets the ax in your life and generosity gets the nod?
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