Friday, August 10, 2018

The Dangers of Greed

“For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.”
- 1 Timothy 6:7

Jesus had gotten pretty popular, to say the least. In verse 1 of Luke 12, we’re told that there were so many thousands of people listening to Jesus that they “were trampling one another.” And the crowd has been packed in like sardines for a while when a man spoke to Jesus in verse 13: “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

Notice that he didn’t ask Jesus a question – he simply blurted out an order. Jesus’ answer was simple and curt: “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” (v. 14). And with that, Jesus was all done addressing their dispute. Why? Chances are Jesus didn’t get involved with these two brothers, at least in part, because there was no point. As Bible scholar Warren Wiersbe explains, “He knew that no answer he gave would solve the real problem, which was covetousness in the hearts of the two brothers…. As long as both men were greedy, no settlement would be satisfactory. Their greatest need was to have their hearts changed.”

So, Jesus followed his rebuke with a warning, which appears to have been meant both for the two brothers and for the rest of 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” (v. 15). Jesus looked at these two greedy brothers, and he could perceive what most of the crowd could not. Their greed was consuming them and placing them on the slippery slope to Hell—an eternity separated from God.

Here’s a quick definition of greed: an unquenchable thirst for getting more and more of something we think we need in order to be truly satisfied. May people are greedy for money. Many others are greedy for things that money can buy. Still others are greedy for position or power. Regardless of what someone’s greed is targeting, greed is toxic. It can destroy our life here on earth and can even send negative ripples into eternity. I’d like to share with you four dangers of greed that God’s Word reveals.

1) Greed subtly replaces God on the throne of our lives with something else. Sadly, without even realizing it, when we become consumed by greed for money and material possessions, we gradually replace God on the throne of our hearts. Our hearts no longer beat for God; they beat for stuff. Our hearts no longer stay focused on God; they stay focused on stuff. Our hearts’ number-one goal is no longer to bring glory and honor to God, but to bring more money into our bank accounts and more stuff into our homes.

2) Greed is a root of all kinds of evil. As Paul warns us in 1Timothy 9-10, “
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. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” The road to wealth is paved with many traps. There are many temptations that, if we give in, will lead us to do foolish and harmful things. Money, and even wealth, can be a wonderful tool when we submit it to the lordship of Christ and place it in God’s hands to do God’s work. But money makes a terrible God.

3) Greed takes our focus off others and puts it on ourselves. We are called to humbly consider others better than ourselves. We are called to love our neighbors. But in the rat race of trying to get richer and richer, our greed takes our focus off others and puts it on ourselves. When money stops being a godly tool and starts becoming the object of our affections, it’s gotta go.

4) Greed here on earth will leave you flat broke in heaven. According to 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, one day every believer and follower of Jesus Christ will stand before God, and our entire lives will be passed through a fire. That fire will test the quality of everything we did here on earth. The only things in our lives that will pass through the flames and come out on the other side are the things we did for Jesus Christ. If you trust in Christ, you will make it to heaven. But will you have something to show for your life here on earth? If we allow greed to take root in our lives, not only will we not be able to take our earthly riches with us, we won’t have any riches awaiting us in heaven.

As Christians, we should view our money and earthly possessions as a gift from God intended to meet our basic needs. We should use them as a tool to love God and people. If we use what we’ve been given wisely, we can look forward to our ultimate reward in eternity, when we hear those six most beautiful words in the universe: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Dane Davis is the Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville, California. For more information, visit  and join us for worship Sundays at 10 a.m.

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