Listen: 90 Question 1

In several places, using different words, the Word of God warns us of the sin of being greedy.  Let’s start by reading Ephesians 5:1-4, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.”  In this portion Christians are told to be followers of God.  We are His dear children and told to walk in the kind of sacrificial love that the Lord Jesus has for us.  With that in mind, several sins are mentioned of which we are told, “…let it not be once named among you.”  This shows the seriousness of sin.  The Lord does not want us to do these things, not even once.  Along with other sins here, covetousness is mentioned as one sin that we should never commit.  Covetousness is the same as greed.  In fact, this word is translated ‘greediness’ in Ephesians 4:19 speaking of some, “Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”  To illustrate the awfulness of covetousness, let’s read Colossians 3:5, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”

To covet, or to be greedy, is compared to worshiping idols.  Of course, the definition of greed is the strong desire to have more.  Greediness is really putting ourselves and our desires above the Lord.  We, in effect, worship ourselves and our own lusts for more.  We can see why greediness is so destructive to the Christian life.  It is the opposite of being content and we are told in Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  As believers on the Lord Jesus, we have the promise of God that he will never abandon us.  I particularly like how the World English Bible translates this verse.  It says, “Be free from the love of money, content with such things as you have, for he has said, “I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you.”  Realizing the abiding presence and provision of the Lord should cause us to be content.  It should prevent us from being greedy.

Greed, or the constant desire to have more, is a trap for the believer that only brings the disintegration of the Christian testimony.  The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”  Greed can be very subtle in the believer’s life.  We need to be aware of the sinfulness and danger of being materialistic.  Solomon, in his wisdom tells us in Proverbs 23:4, “Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.”

Probably, the first case of greed mentioned in the Bible is the temptation in the Garden of Eden, where we read in Genesis 3:6, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”  Having the rich supply of God’s goodness and provision, Eve still wanted more.  Isn’t that amazing?  Having all that she could ever want, Eve wanted more.  Sadly, that’s so true of so many of us who carry the name of Christ.  We are not content with His goodness and provision.  We long for more.  We are greedy for the things of this world; realizing the danger of earthly riches, we still long for more.  Again, let’s listen to the wisdom of Solomon as he wrote in Proverbs 30:8, “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me.”

One major problem with greed is that no matter how much we have, when we are greedy, we can never have enough.  Solomon wrote in Proverbs 27:20, “Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.”  Greed is an ambition that can never be satisfied.  It can never bring contentment; rather it will only frustrate us as it causes us to long for more and more.  Let us heed the words of 1 Timothy 6:3-6, “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,   Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.  But godliness with contentment is great gain.”  (90.1)