Summary: A series looking at what we do with our possessions.
Generous or Greedy
April 14, 2013
SHOW VIDEO ~ Do you remember watching NASA launches? They were so exciting as you would be listening to Houston talking and to the astronauts. It was reality television at its best. Finally you’d hear the countdown.
Isn’t that great!! When the rocket sits on the launch pad, it’s pulled by the earth’s gravitational force, and it takes the booster to get it away from the gravity and into space where it can freely fly.
Last week I began this series of messages on Generosity by talking about God’s blessings to us. God is like the river of blessings which flows into our lives, then we need to pass on those blessings, otherwise we become like the Dead Sea, which is desolate and has no outlet. We don’t want to be Dead Sea Christ followers.
Instead of looking at generosity as a river, I want you to see it as a rocket. It’s being held back by the world’s G-force. Now in this case, G doesn’t stand for gravity; G stands for greed, because if you want to be generous, then you’re going to have to escape the pull of greed. Greed is that constant tug to accumulate more and more stuff for yourself. Greed keeps generosity from taking off in our lives. greed = intense and selfish desire for food, wealth, power.
You see, we have opposing forces at work in us. There’s greed that’s pulling you to get, get, get and keep, keep, keep. And there’s generosity that’s pushing you to give, give, give. Ultimately, I believe it’s a matter of the heart. That’s where I ended last week, asking if God has captured your heart?! When He catches your heart, that acts like the rocket boosters. They’ll enable the generosity rocket to escape the gravitation pull of greed and take off in your life.
Luke 12 is a parable about greed. In this parable, Jesus exposes the subtle power of greed and He makes a compelling case for how destructive and foolish, greed is.
Luke 12:13 begins the story: 13 ‘”Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’
14 Jesus replied, ‘Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?’‘”
There’s an angry guy in the crowd. We can assume that his parents died and left an inheritance which his older brother wasn’t willing to share with him, so he’s asking Jesus to settle this.
But in this situation the guy doesn’t just seem to be asking; he’s telling Jesus, ‘”Make my brother give me some money.’” Jesus isn’t pleased with the request. He’s going to take this family squabble in a different direction than hoped for.
Greed causes conflict in relationships. I’ve seen it, especially when a loved one dies or is dying and the family starts fighting over who’s going to get the family jewels. I’ve been there personally and experienced it. Some families will write their names on different items to lay claim on what’s theirs. Talk about tension in the air. I’ve seen family members slowly taking items out of the house, unbeknownst to the other family members. This is what greed does.
Maybe you’ve been there. You’ve squabbled over an inheritance with brothers or sisters like this guy in Luke 12. Or you had money you thought was due you, but it went to someone else, maybe the step-kids. Or maybe you’re married, and you’ve argued about money this past week. Money is one of the biggest issues in marriages.
Maybe you argued about how much money to give at church. One of you wants to give more, and the other wants to hold back. That’s not unusual. Maybe you’re mad at your mom and dad because they haven’t bought you something you wanted. They refuse to spend the money.
Greed causes conflict in business relationships. How many of you have been on the short end of this stick? You have a customer who expects you to give away the store. You have a partner who’s cheated you. Or you’re barely making it, but the CEO is flying off on luxury vacations.
Greed causes conflict among friends. It may be something as simple as divvying up the lunch bill. Who’s going to pay what? Hey, their lunch was $1 more, they had a drink and I had water. That rat!!
Maybe you have tension with your neighbor because you think they should let you use their new snow blower, or now their new lawn mower. It may be over wedding invitations and who you’re going to invite to the reception because there’s only so much money to pay for the meals. Somebody might get bent out of shape because they’re not invited. Or maybe you think, didn’t we give them a $250 espresso maker for their wedding? And they only gave us a $35 toaster.