Summary: Avarice can be considered the very essence of evil

Fyodor Dostoevsky, the Russian novelist, philosopher, and journalist once remarked: “The world says: "You have needs - satisfy them. You have as much right as the rich and the mighty. Don't hesitate to satisfy your needs; indeed, expand your needs and demand more." This is the worldly doctrine of today. And they believe that this is freedom. The result for the rich is isolation and suicide, for the poor, envy and murder.” 1 Timothy 6:10 confirms: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

Avarice or greed, as it is more commonly referred to, in the Oxford English Dictionary is defined as: “Extreme greed for wealth or material gain.” It is listed as one of the seven deadly sins which are considered contrary to the seven heavenly virtues, which form part of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is a grim reality of mortals that some consider the possession of money and other material items to be more important than the presence of God in their lives, they effectively close the door to piety and all righteousness, and alas, favour wealth to the significance of God. Matthew 6:24 reminds us: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Proverbs 28:25 enforces this by stating: “A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.”

Avarice has been considered by some to be the very essence of evil and is often thought to abuse the natural faculties of life. The desire for wealth or other possessions can be psychologically harmful when people are not content with what they have and feel the need for more. This may well lead to unnatural and unhealthy thoughts and actions. The "wanting" process in life can supersede everything of importance and become a fundamental priority. If this is not achieved, then the dissatisfaction which ensues will most likely create unhappiness. Everyone hopes for a reasonable standard of living, that remains prevalent to all, but problems occur when the need for the acquisition of material things becomes uncontrollable and turns into obsession. 1 Timothy 6:9 states: “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.”

Wealth does not create happiness, only discontentment and features prominently in avaricious people, they see what others have and feel the extreme need for the same. If they fail to procure that desire for any reason, then a sense of envy also enters the equation which can cause countless additional problems. The desire for wealth leads to the desire for more wealth. It is a never-ending vicious circle that will never actually be accomplished. 1 John 2:16 confirms: “For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions - is not from the Father but is from the world.”

There was once a man who could be described as parsimonious. He lived a life of virtual solitude, in a pretty cottage, located in a beautiful village in the heart of the English countryside. He had accumulated much wealth over several years. As he didn't trust banks and was unwilling to inform anybody about the money he had accrued, he refrained from keeping it in the bank, instead, he chose to retain his cash at his home which he personally considered as a much safer place.

In accordance with his trait, he refused to spend money on anything except essential provisions which were solely for the purpose of living and for other household necessities which he was obliged to purchase. Fundamentally, he lived in abject poverty without any luxuries, as he believed that everything else in life was an unnecessary waste of money and needless. His general principles were that he would never give money to anyone, no matter what the cause or circumstances, and he didn't believe in lending either. He was once asked by a close friend if he would be kind enough to lend him some money to buy an essential household item which was considered a necessity by the person, but his response, as always, was to repeat the words: "I am sorry, but I believe: Neither a borrower nor a lender be."

Although he was usually a recluse and did not generally socialize with others, one day, he heard from his neighbours that there had been a spate of household robberies in the area and was warned accordingly that if necessary he should take preventative measures. With this news to hand, he began to panic at the possibility of the loss of his entire fortune if he was unlucky enough to be targetted as a prospective victim to be robbed. He decided that the most appropriate and safest place to store his money securely would be to conceal it in a remote location in his back garden. He chose his vegetable plot as a suitable setting and dug a deep hole in which to place his cash. He inserted all of the money into several black plastic sacks, intended for use as rubbish bags, to protect the savings. He then placed all of the sacks into the hole and replaced the soil.

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