The second sin on the list of the big 7 is a bit tricky. Greed. Webster’s defines greed as, “a selfish and excessive desire for more of something than is needed.”
And that’s where the tricky part comes in. We could focus on the “more of something that is needed” part of that definition, but who’s the judge of that? It’s more important is to focus on the first part, the “selfish and excessive desire” part.
Greed can be something little, such as a child surveying the sea of desserts at the Sunday buffet after church and picking the biggest piece of cake so that her little brother can’t have it (nope, not even one little bite).
Or it can be something huge like a successful businessman hoarding his wealth instead of tithing and giving because he doesn’t want anyone to have any of his money – he wants it all to himself.
If we are self-focused, greed is natural. It is the fulfillment of selfish desires and ambitions. It drives what we say, how we act, our careers and our treatment of those around us. It comes out as “Me first” instead of the Jesus-inspired message of “Me last.”
Most mommas I know try to raise children who are selfless, not selfish. But let me just warn all you young mommas out there – most ALL kids go through a selfish stage (except maybe Tim Tebow – I don’t know about that for sure but I just can’t see him not sharing in the sandbox…). Most kids go through the, “It’s MINE!” stage where they not only want one toy, they want all the toys in the room and they ain’t gonna share them – no way, no how.
The question then becomes how long will the selfish, greedy stage last? How long will a child, a young adult, a grown person put his or her wants and needs above those of others?
For me, having children pretty much cured me of most of the greedy tendencies I had. Before children (and honestly, for a time after having them) I wanted brand new cars, bigger houses, luxury vacations. And not having those things made me flat out miserable at times.
After children my desires changed dramatically. At some point it dawned on me (Jesus knows I’m a slow learner) it’s not all about me and what I want – it’s about putting others first. I made sacrifices to send my children to private school. I drove a much less expensive car than the one I described yesterday so that our family could get out of debt. For the first time in our marriage my husband and I tithed
Don’t get me wrong – I like nice stuff. And it’s not a sin to have nice stuff. But it isn’t biblical to have nice stuff at the expense of being generous.
And when you start putting just one person ahead of you, it becomes easier to put most everyone ahead of you. You open doors for people and let them go in the movies before you so they can get a better seat. You let someone else go through the buffet line and get the best piece of fried chicken. You tithe instead of hoard.
“A greedy man brings trouble to his family, but he who hates bribes will live.” (Proverbs 15:27)
“Be shepherds of God’s flock… not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money but eager to serve…” (1 Peter 5:2)
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