Illustration results for Greed
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WHEN DOES THE SIZE OF A HOUSE BECOME SINFUL?
Several years ago, Millard Fuller of Habitat for Humanity addressed the National Press Club on public radio, on which he recalled a workshop he conducted at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary with 200 pastors in attendance. The assembled pastors quickly pointed toward greed and selfishness as the reason the church never had enough money to accomplish its mission in the world.
Millard then asked this seemingly innocent question: "Is it possible for a person to build a house so large that it's sinful in the eyes of God? Raise your hand if you think so."
All 200 pastors raised their hands.
"Okay," said Millard, "then can you tell me at exactly what size, the precise square footage, a certain house becomes sinful to occupy?"
Silence from the pastors. You could have heard a pin drop.
Finally, a small, quiet voice spoke up from the back of the room: "When it is bigger than mine."
(Frank G. Honeycutt, Preaching to Skeptics and Seekers. From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Treasure's Trap, 9/18/2010)
In Dante’s Inferno the residents of Hell are being punished for the deadly sins that characterized their runaway lives. The picture drawn for greed is an image of a person in Hell with his head pushed down in the dirt with a caption saying, “I have turned my back on heaven.” (Randy Rowland, "Sins We Love," p. 134)
A few years ago my mom began feeding the birds on a regular basis in our backyard. At first, some of the birds were greedy. They weren’t sure if there would be enough food to go around. The starlings were especially mean, which doesn’t surprise anyone familiar with birds. They would attack the robins, cardinals, and sparrows that came to get a taste. This situation continued for several months until one day there was a noticeable change in the bird’s behavior.
After years of regular feeding from the unlimited supply, the birds appeared to be less greedy with the food. Now they were feeding at their leisure—realizing there would be more food when their current supply was finished. Then, last month, something even more remarkable happened. After all these months of hording, greed, and then cautiously enjoying, the birds began to demonstrate a nobler characteristic. They began calling for one another at mealtime.
Today, when the seed is spread for the birds, one will call for the others to share what they’ve discovered. The greed is less frequent. The jealous pecking is rare. The trees seem fuller these days with the joy of satisfaction from birds that have learned to share. The music of multiple species fills the air. Now they know the supply is unlimited. And as far as their appetite is concerned, it’s inexhaustible.
Just this morning, I noticed a sparrow feeding right beside a starling. Miracles never cease.
Why can’t this happen in the church?
God’s grace is inexhaustible and we ought to be calling other sinners to the fount where we’ve found refreshment and renewal.
Charles K. Grant
According an old fable, attributed to Aesop, a dog was carrying a bone as he crossed a bridge. He looked into the water and saw his own reflection. He took this to be another dog and another bone. He desperately wanted the other bone so he dropped the one he had to scare the "other dog." Of course there was no other bone and he lost the one he had into th...
DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE: OUR IRREVOCABLE ACTS
Robert Louis Stevenson, in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," set forth the irrevocable nature of every act we perform. Mr. Jekyll discovered a drug that would transform him into a man devoid of any conscience and therefore able to enjoy any vice or sin. Jekyll named this monster Mr. Hyde. Any time Jekyll wanted to become this monster, he would simply take the drug. Then when he wanted to return to being Jekyll, he took the drug again. But after a time, the desire to be Mr. Hyde overruled the desire to be Mr. Jekyll, and he could not recover himself.
Similarly, our sin progresses, gains power over us, and then one day there is no turning back. Just read the headlines or listen to the newscasts and hear of the consequences of sin. As a nation, we have progressed deeper and deeper into the monster Mr. Hyde. Socially, economically, and morally we are more filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity than ever before.
This past January the pastors were at a retreat in Duluth and the speaker told of a missionary friend who was trying to reach this group of people in Mexico.
They had a difficult time because these villagers had what he phrased “a scarcity mentality.” The missionary said their belief affected their whole lives. For example, parents would only have one child because their belief was if we have two children our love would be split in half, 50% going to one child and 50% going to another child. Heaven forbid if you had 4 children, each child would only receive 25% of their parents’ love.
This scarcity view believed there is only so much of the pie, and the more people you had the smaller shares of the pie each would get.
As a result of this belief system, the missionary found it very difficult to reach this group for the gospel because this “scarcity view” created a mentality of greed among the people because there is only so much of the pie so I better get otherwise I’ll be left out.
The missionary tried to teach these people about God’s way and he phrased it “the abundance mentality.” For example, God does not have a limited supply of love. God’s love is abundant, he pours it out on all his children. God’s love is not contingent on the number of children he has.
I read of a short French film, illustrating greed that was made some time back about an empty village and a stranger who entered this deserted town. "Where are all the people?" he wondered. All signs of life were there, nothing was locked, food was on the table, smoke curls from the chimneys, stores were open but there are no customers. He doesn’t understand, but he proceeds to take advantage of his opportunity. Pretty soon he is too drunk and too giddy to realize that the villagers are all on a nearby hill and are desperately trying to signal to him. They had rushed outside the town because word came to them that a huge bomb in the town square was about to go off. They had left everything behind in order to save their lives. From this safe distance they were trying vainly, by gestures and shouting, to warn the stranger. As they watched him eat their food and drink their liquor and try on their clothes they forgot the eminent danger. The happy wanderer went into the bank and started flinging their money up in the air. They forget everything but their greed. They rushed back to the village, beat up the stranger and drove him out. At that moment the bomb explodes. They all die except the stranger. Source Unknown
“Do It For Them!” Ephesians 4: 25-32 Key verse(s): 29: “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”
Motivation to do or not do something is a curious thing. There are many factors that influence motivation. We can be motivated by the fear of injury or illness. Motivation can also take the form of pleasure and fulfillment. Some are motivated by greed while others are motivated by selflessness; and so on. Sometimes, therefore, it is difficult not only to find the right motivational idea or emotion, it can also be misunderstood as to which factor actually motivated the action you desired to take place.
“On a Western Airlines flight to San Francisco, fried chicken tycoon Col. Harland Sanders, 89, had made himself agreeable to staff and fellow passengers, then dropped his chin to his narrow black tie and closed his eyes. Somewhere in the back of the plane a child had been shrieking for some time. One stewardess told another helplessly, ‘I’ve tried candy, books and games, but nothing seems to make any difference.’
‘I’ve got to speak to that child,’ said the colonel. He rose to his feet and, with the aid of his cane, made his way back. The staff watched and shrugged, as if to say, ‘What can he do?’
When the colonel came back, not long afterward, his charm had produced a minor miracle. There was only the sound of chatter, newspapers and china. The stewardess came up to him and said, ‘Thank you for helping us, Colonel.’
‘I didn’t do it for you,’ he replied. ‘I did ...
Illustration (from Dennis Rainey): Set out a “minefield of traps. I happen to have some animal traps – huge deadly-looking metal devices I inherited from my grandfather. Set them out all over the floor. Label them with things like “greed”, “lust”, “power”, “popularity”, and “Alcohol”. Demonstrate how dangerous they are by setting one off with a pencil, which will snap into pieces and go flying across the room. Pick a student who you don’t think will freak out and ask them to walk across the minefield. Just before they start, however, whip out a blindfold and tie it around their head.
Then, when the student hesitates, admit you are going to offer them some help. Someone who has been to the other side and can guide them through. Bring out their parent, who can talk them slowly though the minefield. If necessary, le the parent go and take their hand and lead them through.
If you don’t have traps, you can label some students and put them in chairs, but it isn’t nearly as impressive
The point is, your parents have been there before you. Listen to their voices – all they are trying to do is to help you avoid the traps. No matter how old you get, and no matter what path you walk, there’s always going to be someone who has been down it before you, who can give you good advice. Measure that advice against the bible – it may be God speaking to you through the body of believers.
The good ship Commerce under Captain Riley and his 11-man crew
Wrecked on the north coast of Africa in 1815.
They were alone on the edge of the largest desert in the world – the Sahara.
They were men without hope.
Desert nomads came upon them and they thought they were saved,
But they turned out to be thieves who stripped them
And left them to die of thirst and heat.
Close to death, they saw a passing caravan
They gave themselves up as slaves,
Hope slightly came alive.
They were treated brutally and given almost nothing.
Yet defying the improbable they somehow stayed alive,
Their grief was endless.
Captain Riley – laid down one night promising himself
he would commit suicide in the morning.
but he had a dream so real, when he awoke it was hard to believe
it was only a dream.
In this dream a well dressed Englishman, gently lifted him up and promised him,
Not that things would be alright,
But that in time he would be saved and see his family again.
Captain Riley – would never put any stock in dreams, had new inspiration.
That day another nomad showed up.
Riley convinced the man to buy he and his crew from their current masters
And a friend in Swearah, a city on the sea would pay 100 times his cost.
The nomad a greed, but there was no friend – it was just a lie.
His crew held fast to the hope he had given them.
Riley held fast to his lie, for his men’s sake – maybe they could escape.
But there was no escape.
They arrived at Swearah and
The time came for Riley to write the note to his “friend”
Which he did, knowing it would be the last thing he ever would write.
To his surprise the nomad came back to take Riley and his crew to his friend.
Apparently, by chance,
The nomad ran into an Englishman as he entered the city.
What are the chances of that?
When they arrived in the city, having dropped from 240 lbs to about 90 lbs,
There meeting them, was the exact man, Riley experienced in his dream,
Down to every vivid detail,
Clothes, voice, human features, even his scent….
It was God who was there that night in the desert.
It was God who gave the dream of hope.
It was God who gave the hope.
And it wasn’t the hope they had all depended upon,
The hope of a desperate lie,
The hope that maybe something might turn up.
No the kind of hope Peter is speaking of
In spite of the circumstances surrounding you
Your hope is a living hope for today, now, and tomorrow
Never to go away
Not that you are going to be able to avoid bad things in life
But in the worst possible desert of you life,
There will be an unexpected visit,
A man will life up your head telling you that you will be whole again,
And beyond any explanation possible,
It is, and it will be true