Summary: Part 2 in Television series, looks at various types of greed.

Matthew 6:19-34

Who wants to be a Millionaire? That has to be a rhetorical question. U u pick me, pick me. Like who wouldn’t want to be a millionaire? Probably most of us have seen at least one episode of Millionaire and many people watch it on a regular basis. Then you know that the Show began in the UK and came to North America in August of 1999 with Regis Philbin as the host. The contestants battle it out in the fast finger round in order to achieve a spot in the hot seat to answer as many trivia questions as possible. With each correct answer the amount of money they win gets larger and the questions get tougher. The first person to win the Million Dollars was a John Carpenter by answering a question that was so simple. Out of the $1,000,000.00 that he won he kept $400,000.00 of it with the tax man taking the rest. Fitting because Carpenter works for the IRS.

Since John Carpentar won his Million dollars several others have also won amounts up to the $2,180,000 that Kevin Olmstead, an engineer, won on April 9, 2001.

The question shouldn’t be who wants to be a millionaire? Instead it should be “How Bad Do You Want To Be A Millionaire?” In 1990 James Patterson and Peter Kim wrote a book based on extensive surveys of the American Public, the book was called; “The Day That America Told The Truth.” Questions were asked concerning a wide range of topics from morality to work to family life. The results are really quite surprising. And while it’s easy to write off the results as being American I’m sure that many of the results would have been the same on this side of the 49th.

One of the questions asked was “What would you be willing to do for Ten Million Dollars?” A follow up survey was done asking about 5, 4, 3 and 2 million dollars and the results remained fairly consistent. It was only under $2 million that they began to see a fall off in what people would do. So it would appear the price for many Americans was $2 million. Out of the ten questions asked 2/3 of the respondents agreed they would be willing to do at least one, and some several of the deeds. What were they? Would abandon their entire family 25%, Would abandon their Church 25%, Would become prostitutes for a week or more 23%, Would give up their American citizenship 16%, Would leave their spouse 16%, Would withhold testimony and let a murderer go free 10%, Would kill a stranger 7%, would change their race 6%, would have a sex change operation 4%, or would put their children up for adoption 3%.

You say that you have no interest in a million dollars, come on? At least be as honest as Mark Twain who said “I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.”

This morning we are looking at “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? A Matter of Greed.”

Collins Dictionary defines Greed: Excessive Desire, especially for wealth or food.

American Psychologist Eric Fromm said “Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.”

But not everyone agrees, Ivan F. Boesky said “Greed is all right, by the way … I think greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself.” And Donald Trump said “The point is that you can’t be too greedy.”

On the other hand Jesus Christ clumped Greed together with evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. And said they are what defile you and make you unacceptable to God.” So with all due respect to Donald and Ivan maybe Greed isn’t all right. But it’s something that most of us have struggled with, that ever-consuming quest for more. After all most of us would agree with Woody Allen when he said “Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.”

Greedy for Stuff The Bible speaks a lot about money, but contrary to popular opinion it’s not opposed to making it or keeping it. After all Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, Job and many others in the Bible were very wealthy. However the Bible gives several warning concerning how we acquire our wealth, what we do with it after we have it and what it does with us after it has us.

I’ve mentioned before about getting ready to move to Australia in 1990. We had sold most of our furniture, our car and the man had just come to pick up my Motorcycle and I was struggling with how little we had actually accumulated in 8 years of marriage and even more with the fact that I didn’t have any of it left. And it was then I realized not how much stuff I owned but how much stuff owned me.

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