There once was a little deformed creature that lived inside my heart. I rarely saw him; he preferred to live in a tiny out-of-the way hole inside my chest. He was smaller than his other brothers and therefore was usually able to perform his wicked deeds below my radar.
His name was Greed.
He seemed harmless enough. He never bit my hand and he actually made me feel secure. He told me if I had money in my savings, then I could face anything life threw at me. He whispered how nice that new shirt would feel or how cool I would be with that cell phone over there. When money issues were brought up at church, he would remind me that I had responsibilities first and needed to pay the bills at home. Besides, God doesn’t need my money? Right?
I began realize just how dangerous he was when I found my heart attaching to the things around me. My house, my car, the new dishware. He had thrown out ropes from my heart and wrapped them around the objects around me… and I never knew. Until those things were taken away.
And then I felt the pain of Greed.
Have you ever felt that? The roaring inside your heart when something you like is taken away or destroyed? The car gets scratched, the kids draw all over the walls, the dog throws up on the couch. My heartstrings were attached to the things of this world. And it was time for God to get out the scissors.
Snip. Snip. There went the house. Snip. There went the savings account. Snip. Snip. There went the TV, the furniture, the dishware. God took everything away (or put it in a storage shed) those few months my husband was unemployed. I was stripped down to nothing but the clothes I had and my computer (God didn’t take that away lol). But I learned a huge lesson those couple of months:
Greed lied to me. And Greed hurt me.
Nice salaries, a large bank accounts, a hefty retirement (or even being debt free) is not a security in life. God is.
A beautiful home, nice cars, the latest cell phone, designer clothes only bring temporary pleasure. But God brings a fullness to life that nothing in this world can give.
But I don’t have any of those things, you might think. Yeah, actually, neither did I. But you don’t need things in order for Greed to move in and start attaching your heart to this world. You just need to want them, hold them tightly when you finally do, and roar when someone or something takes them away.
The poorest person in the world can still have Greed living in their heart. And the richest person can be free of the bondage of Greed. Why? Greed has nothing to do with possessions or money, it has to do with the heart (where Greed likes to live).
So how do you kick Greed out of its hidey-hole?
Well, you could get rid of everything you have! I wonder if Jesus saw a major infestation of Greed when the rich young man ran up to him and asked how he could inherit eternal life (Mark 10:17-27). Greed may be small, but the ropes it uses to tie us to the world can be iron solid. I love how Mark says, “Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him”. God doesn’t want Greed to stay in our hearts. In fact, Greed can keep us from experiencing the true fullness God wants to give us. Mark ends with saying, “At this, the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Getting rid of everything may be a bit farfetched, but here a couple more doable ideas:
1) Ask God to reveal Greed. Like I said, he’s small and seems relatively harmless. So we need God to shine light on his little hole and expose him for what he really is.
2) Give away stuff. There is nothing like thinking about giving away something to get Greed to come tearing out of his hole and shouting why you should keep it.
3) Tithe. Yep, tithe. I have come to believe that tithing is like taking a pill to keep the Greed away. You give to God and his church every week with joy and Greed just can’t stand that. Why? Because I believe giving then trickles into the rest of your life. You start giving stuff away. You give money to other things. And the ropes Greed was using to attach you to this world strain under that weight until they snap and you find yourself free.
And lastly, think about a big fire. When Greed comes knocking on my door, I imagine everything burning up (ok, yeah, there is a bit of a pyro in me). But the truth is, everything is going to burn in the end. And we can’t take the stuff of this world with us when we die. So then why let Greed have his way and tie me to things that are not going to last? I’d rather have the freedom God gives and His fullness and pleasure. So snip away God, snip away. And Greed be gone!
6 thoughts on “Greed”
When our two sons were young, our house burned to the ground. My husband and I were over a thousand miles away when it happened. The boys were staying with their grandfather at the house. They were in church when the fire started. One of the many lessons we learned was that possessions are of this world and they don’t matter. We were thankful that no one was seriously hurt and we still had each other. The ensuing months were painful and at times we missed some of our possessions. But the thing that stuck with each of us was that God took care of our needs through friends and family. None of us are very attached to any possessions because we know they can all be snatched away in a blink of an eye. After such a tragedy one might think we would become more greedy, having lost most everything. But, actually, the opposite is true. We have become more conscience of our giving and are always happy and ready to help another in need.
Great post, Morgan.
I had a series of experiences, nothing as drastic as what Barb shared, when I was young that changed my value system. God is so good to correct us because as you make clear with your ropes analogy, we need to be freed from what binds us.
Thank you Morgan
1998 all that was my life was taken from me. At the time I did not think I would ever make it. No home, money. Who I thought I was was taken from me. All dreams were cancled. I had to search my heart and get it lined up with Gods plan for me. When I had to take my laundry to a friends house I said God I promise these big little things will not become more in my life than you. The hope and promise I held tight to was Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, DECLARES the Lord plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen….Does it always happen this drastic? NO..but what was meant for evil he will use for HIS glory..I am grateful for what he has given me. A home, husband, children, grandchildren, but most of his amazing GRACE..I hope to only be greedy for HIS LOVE..
Morgan thank you for your discription of greed..Blessings
Wow! I just read all of your posts and went wow! To many, it would seem strange God loves us enough to take away our homes or cars or possessions. But for those of us who have experienced it and let God refill that void with himself, you know the stuff this world offers is a poor substitute.
I was taking a walk last week in the new neighborhood I live in. Its a great neighborhood filled with kids, tall trees, and beautiful farm fields in the back. And the house I live in is wonderful too. But for the first time in my life, I knew I could move away from it if God called us to another place. Every other place I lived I would tell Dan it would be hard to move. But this time, I realized God had finally severed those cords that bound me to a place. In the end, its just a house. God’s will and people matter more.
I loved this post and could totally understand. Back in February when we found out that our duplex had been sold and we would have to move I too learned about Greed and how attached to things I was. I laughed when you mentioned a fire because at one point I heard the Lord say to me, “And what would you do if the house caught on fire? Then what?” He was right – then what? Most of our furniture are things that I’ve enharrited from my grandparents – and I miss them SO much. But again the Lord said to me, “Your grandparents aren’t in those things – they are in your heart, in your memories, and they are with Me.” He was right – as He always is. So Greed started shrinking and I started giving things away.
Ah, know that insiduous creature greed very well: garage sales, SUV envy, shopping for bargains I did not need. But in the last couple of years God has sculpted my heart and given me eyes to see the sin of wanting and accumulating. I do not recall asking God to reveal this area of sin to me, but in His grace, He did. So I have been giving away and throwing away. You know? it really isn’t so painful or traumatic as I would once have thought. Blessing some one else gives me way more joy. I am sure one of the catalysts for my heart change was seeing all that my mom and dad left behind and not wanting you and Dan to have to deal with my “stuff” I want to love my God more than my stuff and have my treasure be in Heaven. (ok, that was wordy)
thank you for the great posts. I am proud of you and praise God for His gift to you.