Summary: Continuing our look at the 7 Deadly Sins. Focusing on greed and envy as we seek to draw closer to God.
7 Deadly Sins
Greed and Envy
March 11, 2018
The 2015 American Freshman Survey asked thousands of incoming students about their goals and aspirations. 81.9 % checked "becoming very well off financially" as an "essential" or "very important" life objective. That’s an astounding percentage. But it’s not uncommon. Most people believe if they had more money, they would be happier and more content. Their expectation was they would graduate college earing the minimum wage in their eyes, which was $75,000.
One of the researchers, Jonathan Haidt wrote ~ "Wealth itself has only a small direct effect on happiness because it so effectively speeds up the hedonic treadmill. As the level of wealth has doubled or tripled in the last 50 years, the levels of happiness and satisfaction with life has not changed, and depression has become more common."*
Isn’t that the truth?! The more we make the more we spend, the more we spend, the more we believe we need to make . . . and the cycle goes on and on and on. It never ends until we end it! Too many people, young and middle aged believe money is necessary for happiness. I really believe most people as they age, come to the realization, it’s not about the money. But sometimes, it’s too late.
Well, today, we’re tackling 2 of the 7 deadly sins! That means, since you lost an hour of sleep last night, I will have to go twice as long . . . right?! No, actually, I should go 2x shorter, since you’re sleepier . . . right?! Not!
Okay, we’re looking at a combination of greed and envy. I believe there’s a link between the two. We’re going to start with greed and work our way into envy. The apostle Paul was giving final instructions to Timothy and he wrote these words ~
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain,
7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.
8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare,
into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.
It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. – 1 Timothy 6:6-10
Paul isn’t telling us, nor did Jesus ever tell us money is bad. We never hear that we should not be wealthy. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were tremendously wealthy. David was a wealthy King. He put millions of dollars aside to build the Temple.
And his son, Solomon was even wealthier. 1 Kings 10:23 tells us “King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth.”
None of these people were condemned because they were wealthy. Why? Because they were rich toward God. Even with their wealth, they put more trust in God than they did in their fortunes and possessions. People were never condemned for being wealthy.
Jesus condemned them for being greedy. Greed is biblically defined this way ~
covetousness, avarice, the desire for more things, lusting for a greater number of temporal things that go beyond what God determines is eternally best (beyond His preferred-will)
The dictionary defines greed as — an excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions.
Greed is a never ending desire and compulsion to get more of anything you think will make you content. It’s the belief if I get more, I will be safe, secure and happy.
Understand this, you don’t need to be wealthy to be greedy. Greed is about wanting more, but wanting more in a way that you believe will satisfy you, and make life better.
That means – if I have to cheat a little, or lie a little, or fudge a little to get more money… I’ll do it. Because it’s all about ME supplying for MY needs.
That’s why so many families go to war about their inheritance. You can read stories in disbelief about people who fought and ultimately were no longer a family because of fights over an inheritance.
In Luke 12, Jesus shares a story about a guy who’s complaining about his inheritance, and Jesus tells a story about a another man who had a great harvest and went off to build more and more barns to store his crop.
Now, on the surface, this all sounds great. It’s smart, it’s what you should do. Otherwise, your great harvest will be ruined if not taken care of. Jesus added ~
19 The man will say to his soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’