“Lord Deliver Me”… from My Greed

"Lord Deliver Me"... from My Greed

1 Timothy 6:6-9 — Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

We continue a devotional series on what are known as the “seven deadly sins”. Such a list isn’t found in Scripture, even though each of these sins are mentioned often. The seven deadly sins are seven ways our naturally sinful heart shows itself. These wrong attitudes of the heart are at the root of much of our sinful behavior. They also sit beneath much of our misery because they undermine having God as the joy and center of our life.

Am I greedy? This seems to be one of those sins that is so easy to see in other people, but certainly not in me. Yet I can get to clutching my possessions too tightly. I can get a little obsessed with “a little bit more” in the retirement account or the vacation fund. I can wince at the thought of charity. I found this list below. Consider for yourself if maybe you see yourself in this list:

____ I don’t enjoy many pursuits unless I materially profit from them.
____ I am stingy in using material things or paying off debts.
____ I don’t like spending money, even on common necessities.
____ I feel a miserly distress over trifling losses.
____ I am close-fisted in giving. I find no joy in it.
____ I worry about money a lot.
____ I have employed dishonest or unjust means to get money or possessions.
____ I have fought over inheritance.
____ I get angry when I am shown the struggle of people in poverty.
____ Even when I have plenty, I think about wanting more.
____ I hoard. One should dare never throw things away that might be the slight bit useful.
____ When I lose money, I get so uncomfortable and can barely think of anything else.
____ My highest goal in life is to acquire enough money that I can be sure of a secure future.
____ I constantly check my bank accounts and financial holdings.

God has blessed us with our earthly possessions and wealth. The problem comes when we start loving or putting our trust in our wealth over loving and trusting our Maker. The problem also comes when we put acquiring things or holding onto things ahead of loving our neighbors, practicing justice, showing mercy and generosity. After all, one of the reasons God blesses us with our wealth is so that we can use it to do good (and not just think about ourselves).

We never need to feel ashamed of what God has blessed us with. Yet we also never need to think that God has not given us “enough”. Contentment with our blessings. Rejoicing in them. Giving thanks for them. This is the life God intends for us. When we lose that, we start falling into temptations that rip at the relationship we have with God and with the people around us.

None of us are without some level of greed. It may manifest itself in different ways, but we all have grown too attached to our possessions somehow. This threatens our peace with God now and eternally.

Our loving God has an answer. “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that although he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9) The Son of God left his throne in heaven to live for us here on earth. At the cross, we see the extent of Jesus’ “poverty”. He was emptied of all glory. Even his clothes were divided out among the soldiers. Jesus’ life itself was sacrificed as a full payment for our sins. Through his poverty you and I have been gifted the eternal riches of heaven.

Peace with God. Sins forgiven. Heaven. All through Jesus’ poverty. These are the treasures God wants us to possess. These gifts are what God wants us to treasure above all. Here are our real riches, no matter how much earthly wealth we have or how our financial status changes on earth.

Now we can see our wealth as the cherry on top of all that God has done for us. And we can use it in ways that honor Him. We can leave behind the constant obsession with “more” and we can be more open-handed with what we have because our wealth isn’t our treasure. Jesus is.

Peace in Jesus,
Pastor John Gensmer

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