“Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.””
Luke 12:13-21 NKJV
Another enemy of the heart? Greed. It’s when we feel that we deserve more and more worldly wealth and goods. Greed says, “I owe me.”
Jesus said, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed.” Why? Because of the all the heart conditions we’re considering, greed is the most subtle of all. Greed can take up residence in the heart and live there for years undetected. The unguarded heart is highly susceptible to this debilitating disease. It’s difficult to diagnose—especially to self-diagnose.
Jesus went on to uncover the lie that fuels all greed: “Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” But doesn’t everybody know that? Do people really believe that their lives are equivalent to what they own? The answer is no and yes. No, not everybody knows that. And yes, there are people who believe that your life is pretty much the sum total of what you own. And many of us today are more prone to this belief than we might imagine.
After telling a parable, Jesus gave his definition of a greedy person: someone who stores up things for himself or herself but isn’t rich toward God. Being “rich toward God” is Jesus-talk for being generous toward those in need. A greedy person is the man or woman who saves carefully but gives sparingly.
Generous giving will break the grip of greed on your life. So whether or not you think you have extra, give and give generously. You’ve got to give to the point that it forces you to adjust your lifestyle. If you’re not willing to give to the point that it impacts your lifestyle, then according to Jesus, you’re greedy. If you’re consuming to the point of having little or nothing left to give, you’re greedy. If you’re consuming and saving to the point that there’s little or nothing left to give, you’re greedy.
I know that’s strong. Actually, it’s harsh.
But it’s true.
Break the power of greed through the habit of generous giving. It’s a habit that changes everything.