Summary: The importance of providing for the needs of the congregation instead of self
“The Parable Of The Spoons”
“A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said, "Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.” The Lord led the holy man to two doors. He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew which smelled delicious and made the holy man’s mouth water.
The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful, but because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths. The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering. The Lord said, "You have seen Hell."
They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man’s mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking. The holy man said, "I don’t understand."
It is simple" said the Lord, "it requires but one skill. You see, they have learned to feed each other. While the greedy think only of themselves.”
1. WHAT IS GREED?
• Greed causes us to seek things for self rather than for the group
• Greed is doing WITH, while others do WITHOUT
• We see in the parable above that it took teamwork to sustain the group, and when one was worried about self more than the whole, then misery set in
• Let us look at some Biblical perspectives on Greed:
a. Luke 12:16-21 “And he spake a parable unto them, saying, the ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:” “And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?” “And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.” “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy sould shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
b. Luke 16: Rich Man and Lazarus
• The “rich young ruler” was greedy in that rather than to look at the need around him, he was going to tear down his barns of storage and build bigger ones
• Having is ok, Hoarding is not
• God understands that we must prepare for the future in things such as:
b. Children’s Education Expense
c. Money For a ‘Rainy Day’
• But when we do this to an extreme degree, God becomes displeased with us
• We are to leave a portion for those in need (Deuteronomy 24:21 “When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.”)
2. WHAT IS NEED?
• Need, as described by Webster’s Dictionary is: Want; occasion for something; necessity; a state that REQUIRES supply or relief.
• Need is that which we cannot live life without
• Need is necessary for the containment of life
• We need:
• Need’s come in many different forms and vary from individual to individual
• Let us broaden our view on need, If we are Christians we need:
a. Spiritual Water (John 4:14 “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”)
b. Spiritual Food (John 6:35 “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”)
c. Spiritual Shelter (Luke 6:48-49 Parable of the house upon the rock and sand)
3. WHEN DOES NEED BECOME GREED?
• I believe it is when we attempt to keep up with the ‘Jones’s’ rather than keep up with our income and or abilities
• Matthew 25:34-46 Jesus spoke to those who were in need and taken care of and those in need and were not taken care of (I was hungry and you fed me…)