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)
2 Timothy 2:8-4:15
2 Timothy 2:8-2:15
1 Samuel 12:1-12:41
GREED: THE CAT AND THE VASE
A man wanders into a small antique shop in San Francisco. Mostly it's cluttered with knickknacks and junk. On the floor, however, he notices what looks like an ancient Chinese vase. On closer inspection it turns out to be a priceless relic from the Ming dynasty whose value is beyond calculating. It is worth everything else in the store put together.
The owner clearly has no idea about the value of this possession, because it's filled with milk and the cat's drinking out of it. The man sees an opportunity for the deal of a lifetime. He cleverly strategizes a method to obtain the vase for a fraction of its worth.
"That's an extraordinary cat you have," he says to the owner. "How much would you sell her for?"
"Oh, the cat's not really for sale," said the owner. "She keeps the store free of mice."
"I really must have her," the man countered. "Tell you what--I'll give you a hundred dollars for her."
"She's not really worth it," laughed the owner, "but if you want her that badly, she's yours."
"I need something to feed her from as well," continued the man. "Let me throw in another ten dollars for that saucer she's drinking out of."
"Oh, I could never do that. That saucer is actually an ancient Chinese vase from the Ming dynasty. It is my prized possession, whose worth is beyond calculation. Funny thing, though; since we've had it, I've sold seventeen cats."
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)
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...
CAPITALISM WITHOUT CHRISTIANITY
Pure Capitalism--that exists without a Christian influence--can become an empty shell. When Christianity is taken out of the picture of Capitalism...greed and selfishness take over.
Capitalism without Christianity can result in all kinds or evils.
You can end up with crooks like Bernie Madoff who steal vast amounts of money from investors, because they believe in Capitalism...but not in Christ.
You end up with large companies who misuse their workers and the environment because money is more important than anything. Capitalism is their god...not Christ.
You can end up with labor unions that care more about money and power than the workers they represent because they often believe in Capitalism rather than Christ.
You end up with workers who care nothing for whether their company they work for. They don’t care if it makes any money, or if it even survives - just so long as they get their large raises and better benefits they feel they deserve. They deserve the advantages of capitalism, but rarely want the restraints of Christ.
And you end up with politicians who see successful businesses, businessmen, and workers as a constant source of bigger and more intrusive taxes which in turn results in fewer jobs for the unemployed, because they feel government has a right to its share of capitalist pie.
You could go on and on and on complaining about the weaknesses of capitalism. But when you get right down to it, Capitalism’s greatest weaknesses are the same things that plague every aspect of our lives: Greed and selfishness. That’s because greed and selfishness are powerful motivators. If there’s money or power to be had someone will find a way to cheat, or steal, or sue to get at it. That’s just the way it is in this world--because this world is filled with Sin.
But God says: I called you to be different. I’ve called you to be salt and light in a world that is often foul tasting and dark. God calls us out of selfishness and greed to be His people, and that means He calls us to live in such a way that these sins don’t control us.
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
Fr Mund Cargill Thompson
WESLEY: A HEART STRANGELY WARMED
At the first half of the 18th century, England was also in a mess. Gin and gambling were destroying the lives of poor and rich alike. This was the age of Dick Turpin - crime figures were so high, there was so much danger from highway men and footpads that Horace Walpole wrote, "One is forced to travel, even at noon, as if one were going to battle." The government did not know how to respond so they simply added the death penalty for more and more and more crimes.
Meanwhile in 1713 England by defeating France and Spain had secured itself a monopoly in the slave trade. The horrors of unbridled greed in the early industrial revolution meant that three out of every four children died before the age of five because of the insanitary slums and poverty. And of course it hardly goes without saying--churchgoing was at an all time low, and clergy were time servers. I have an ancestor Bishop Carr of Worcester, who gambled (and lost) so much, that when he died, his creditors highjacked the coffin, and would not allow it to be buried, until the debts had been paid. That was the state of the church and the nation at the time.
And then in 1738, a man called John Wesley went to meeting in Aldersgate in the City of London. He heard a reading from a sermon of Martin Luther on Romans and as he listened “My heart was strangely warmed” he said. He felt God - not the god of cucumber sandwiches but the God who tears open the heavens and shakes mountains. And he began to preach. He preached outside the shafts of coalmines and at the doors of factories. He preached not where the church said people should come, but where people were.
And lives were changed. Workers who would take their pay and drink it away, leaving nothing for their wives and children, put aside the bottle and turned to Jesus. Families were reunited. Child mortality dropped. Literacy grew as people longed to learn to read to read the Bible. Prayers were answered - people were healed of physical ailments. Church attendance grew - passionate church attendance singing hymns to what at the time were considered vulgar pop-song tunes. Parliament itself was effected. The slave trade was abolished. Sending children down the mines or up the chimney was abolished. The death penalty was restricted to truly serious crimes. And the crime rate fell...because one heart was strangely warmed. And then many hearts were strangely warmed. In one generation, a nation was changed.
“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 ...
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.
C.S. Lewis said, “The gospel means we can stop lying to ourselves. The sweet sound of amazing grace saves us from the necessity of self-deception. It keeps us from denying that though Christ was victorious, the battle with lust, greed, and pride still rages within us. As a sinner who has been redeemed, I can acknowledge that I am often unloving, irritable, angry and resentful with those closest to me. When I go to church I can leave my white hat at home and admit I have failed. God not only loves me as I am, but also knows me as I am. Because of this I don’t need to apply spiritual cosmetics to make myself presentable to Him. I can accept ownership of my poverty and powerlessness and neediness.”