Greed is one of those things we know is bad in large amounts but could be good is small doses. Afterall, a little bit of greed provides the incentive to find jobs that pay well. A little bit of greed encourages us to make good investments. A little bit of greed helps us save enough to rely on in case we lose our jobs. A little bit of greed makes us think responsibly about providing for our families.
A little bit of greed, however, can easily and innocuously turn into a lot of greed. We begin to set our lives to the rhythm of thinking we need more and better things. And if that wasn’t bad enough, we become less and less generous. Maybe this doesn’t describe you, but I know it’s true for me from time to time.
I sometimes find myself placing too much value in things that although might be expensive, are not necessarily valuable.
The problem with greed is that it has a way of surfacing in our lives in very subtle ways. It tricks us into thinking that all that we have is ours. And since I worked for it, it’s mine. ALL mine! Greed twists the way we think and makes us forget that everything we have is actually a gift.
Working on this teaching forced me to ask some difficult questions about how I was using my money and my time. It’s easy for a pastor to think that because we are “pastors” we are fulfilling our religious duty to preach truths even if we don’t really live what we preach. Almost as though we are exempt for practicing what we preach. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are not exempt from living what we preach. On the contrary preaching is only the first step in communicating the message to our congregations. Ultimately, the more difficult and most effective way to convey the practical implications of the messages we preach is to model what we preach.
My main takeaways from the teaching on greed is that living generously with both my time and money is especially difficult when I forget that everything I have is a gift. Not only a gift, but I am blessed in order to bless others.
The other way I am being shaped by this teaching is that it makes me question constantly, whether I am pursing the best and most meaningful things, or if I am settling for immediate and temporary things. I sometimes find myself placing too much value in things that although might be expensive, are not necessarily valuable. That’s the problem with greed, it gets us chasing after things that will never satisfy the deepest cravings of our soul.
Trying to find joy in temporary things is like chasing after the wind, we will never get it.