Greed. Associated with green eyes and wanting loads of money. What is greed? Are we all victims of it? I think so. In the Oxford English Dictionary, greed is defined as “inordinate or insatiate longing, especially for wealth; avaricious or covetous desire.” Greed is deeply rooted in the will, which I have discussed briefly before. The Oxford Dictionary traces an interesting path in its definition.
…the external world-the mind- mental capacity-emotion of feeling-philosophy-aesthetics-the will-free will-fixed necessity-will, wish, or inclination- inclined or disposed-desire-longing or yearning-inordinate desire-greed…
I would like to try to prove to you that greed is at the root of all sin. 2 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is the root of all evils…” Is that not greed? Not only the love of money but also the love of anything more than God, is greed.
Let’s start in the Garden of Eden with the “first sin.” Eve looked at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. She wanted it more than her relationship with God, and she ate it. Greed. Next let’s look at each of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20. We all know these by heart right? First, “you shall have no other gods before me.” If we put anything in our lives, whether it be possessions, food, or money, before God, it is greed. Second, “you shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God…” If we make any images to worship instead of God, it is greed. Third, “you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain…” If we use the holy name of God flippantly and for our own purposes, it is greed. Fourth, “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” If we use time that has been set apart for the worship of God for our own pleasure, it is greed. We should find pleasure in worshipping our great Creator by giving Him our time on this one day of the week. Fifth, “honor your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you.” If we take advantage of our parents and disrespect them, it is greed. Sixth, “you shall not kill.” If you take someone else’s life, it is obviously greed. Seventh, “you shall not commit adultery.” If you have sex with someone that does not belong to you (i.e. marriage), it is greed. Eighth, “you shall not steal.” If you take something that belongs to someone else, it is greed. Ninth, “you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” If you use someone else for your gain, it is greed. Last, “you shall not covet your neighbor’s house, you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” GREED.
This is very interesting, indeed. As we learned earlier, greed is directly under the control of our will. I believe that God gave us a will of our own. We can choose to do what we want. We can live for Him or not (see God’s Choir). This is why Jesus told us to pray like this:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Jesus follows this in Matthew 6:20 by saying, “For where your treasusre is, there will your heart be also.” If we are greedy, our heart is not with Jesus. He asks us to “take up your cross and follow me.” How can we do this if we are serving our own selfish desires? “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 mammon.”
Jesus asks only that we follow him. Sin is “missing the mark.” We cannot hit the target and be like Christ, in the image of God, if we are being greedy, selfish people and living only for the pleasure of the moment. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”
This doesn’t mean that we can’t dress ourselves nice and eat well, but this should not be our number one concern. Everything that we do, we do for the glory of God. If we eat, it is to the glory of God. If we put on our favorite shoes, it is for the glory of God. If we fast, it is for the glory of God. If we only have ugly tennis shoes, we wear them for the glory of God. We do not do anything for personal gain or attention.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” – Matthew 5:8
The Greek word for pure is katharos. This can mean physically pure, levitically pure, or ethically pure: “free from corrupt desire, from sin and guilt, free from every admixture of what is false, sincere or genuine, blameless, innocent, unstained with the guilt of anything.” (blueletterbible.org) We should do our best to be “pure in heart.” This is referring not only to clean thoughts but also clean actions. Ethically and physically. This is what living like Christ looks like.
Not our will but Yours be done.