Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” Luke 12:15
Jesus was addressing two brothers fighting over their inheritance. This was a strong warning about thinking that their possessions could give their life worth and ultimate value.
Greed grips our hearts when we place material things in the place of God and his ultimate approval and blessings in our life. God has given us the very best in the form of His Son.
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:1-4
One year after my neighbor and his wife passed away, my father received a call from my neighbour’s daughter. She requested my father to sign a declaration against a “copy” of her father’s will , indicating that it was a true copy. What was the purpose? it was so that she could initiate a law suit against her brother who had inherited the larger share of their father’s and mother’s estate. It was written in her father’s original will that she was given less because she had inherited everything under her uncle, my neighbour’s younger brother’s estate and it was a much larger estate than my neighbour’s. My neighbor had painstakingly explained, his seeming bias for his son, to my father, one of his two witnesses to the signing of the will.
When my father said he wanted to discuss the matter with her, she did not come herself but sent her representatives – two lawyers, one psychiatrist and one commissioner for oaths to my father’s house. The lead lawyer gave my dad a swathe of legal documents for him to sign certification that they were true copies as he was one of two witnesses to the signing of the original documents. The psychiatrist tested my father to ascertain that my father was not signing under duress and that he was in his right mind (for he is 92 years old) – he had a near perfect score.
Did my father agree to the neighbor daughter’s request for certification? No! definitely No! He said at his age he was not prepared to be embroiled in a court case which stemmed from greed for he preferred peace of God and did not encourage her greed. The team went away empty-handed.
The next day she came and made a scene, she cried and pleaded my father to help her get more of her father’s and mother’s estate because her mother had verbally indicated that she would get half the estates of her father and mother and she would not be executing her parents’ last wish.
My father quoted the above verses on greed to her and discouraged her from initiating any legal action on her brother who was not as learned as her (a lawyer) and who needed his inheritance for sustenance. My father encouraged her to live in peace.
She left in a huff and has not been heard from again. The brother thanked my dad and said he too had not heard from her. He was thankful his inheritance would not go to his and her lawyers.
As God’s children we must choose the way of peace rather than greed. Sometimes we may unwittingly be led to compromise and go for greedy options
– we may even be led to slander, to back-stab in the workplace when we become greedy for a promotion.
– we may tell lies to gain advantage over a competitor be it in sales or source of supply
– have we been involved in siding with a greedy ally to unethically ease ahead of a Christian brother or sister in business?
– have we abetted wrong doing to gain the confidence, trust and goodwill of a greedy friend for another favor?
We must beware for the devil would have us join and compromise for greed. He is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. We must be aware not to be deceived by cloaked greed which come in many guises even as an angel of light.
Let us be reminded
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. 2 Timothy 6:10
A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched. Proverbs 28:25
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrew 13:5
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 1 Timothy 6:9
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. I John 2:16
No one can serve two masters, for 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 God and money. Matthew 6:24
Let our prayer be to receive wisdom from the Lord, with discernment to know when greed rears its ugly head in any form, and for courage to turn away from it so that we may have the peace of God remain in us. Amen.