How Greed Works

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19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “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.
Matthew 6:19-24

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus lays out a vision for how His Kingdom can transform the lives of His disciples. He keeps our relationship with the stuff of earth connected to knowing the Heavenly Father. Jesus knows greed for more and anxiety because of scarcity hinder our experience of His love and our involvement in His mission.

Greed can take over our lives. He shows us three kinds of power at work in greed. I’m going to call them principles.

The treasure principle: “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” If you treasure money, then the affections of your heart and your best energy for life will go there.

The eye-health principle: “If your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” The perspectives through which your see the world will affect your whole life. So, if you are seeing the world through the faulty lens of greed, you are going to damage your life and those around you.

The master principle: “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.” We thought we could be the master of our money or our wealth. But here’s what Jesus knows: money / wealth / the stuff of earth competes for the allegiance we only to the Giver of all good things. (Rich Mullins wrote this truth into a song) Jesus’ conclusion: You cannot serve both God and money. And money makes a terrible master.

So what are we to do?

We must establish God as master of our lives and our stuff. That will lead us to explore with Him, what the purpose of such stuff and our work is in His Kingdom. And we will begin to ask daily, “Jesus, what would you have me do with the stuff of earth entrusted me?

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