The Deceptive Draw of Greed
In the movie Wall Street, Michael Douglas’ character, Gordon Gekko, says “Greed is good!” He lies, deceives, and cheats his way to riches only to be convicted and sentenced to prison by the end of the movie. But this is only a movie right; this does not happen in the real world, or does it? The Bernie Madoff scandal was the news story of 2008. The American public learned that Madoff had lied to his clients in their investments. Madoff funneled off his client’s money to the sum of 65 million dollars. The Justice Department said Madoff’s fraud went on for decades. He was convicted to 150 years in prison for his Ponzi scheme.
Greed is one of the most deceptive sins. If one is not careful, a person can find themselves justifying why they need more money. For Christians, we often find it difficult to live within our means without giving into the deceptiveness of greed. Some Christians work for Fortune 500 companies, making a six-figure salary, while others work for low-paying jobs. Both groups feel the deceptive draw of greed. The promise of greed is more money meaning more happiness, but in reality, this promise goes unfulfilled as it tends to lead to an unsatisfied life. In this article, I want to give three truths about what greed does, then explain how we fight against the deceptiveness of greed.
Three Biblical Truths About Greed
- Greed presents a false reality.
I mentioned above the promise of greed is “more money leads to more happiness.” I have read of many who have pursued this promise in hopes that it leads to more happiness. However, people often find themselves unsatisfied and wanting more. Greed presents us with the false reality of “more is better.” When you look at the Scriptures, however, you see that even King Solomon with all his riches was not content. In fact, he called those things vanity.
- Greed takes the focus off the Creator and puts the focus on the created.
Greed subtly and incipiently takes the good things of the Creator and turns them into ultimate things. Working hard and earning a salary are not inherently evil things. In fact, they are good things created by a good God. But when we allow these things to control us, then we lose sight of God’s intended purpose. In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches generosity is the fruit of his disciples. Why? Because our attention is divided between money and God.
- Greed teaches life is about material gain instead of eternal promises.
Greed can be a very bad teacher if we let it. It will slowly teach us that this life is all about how much stuff we have or how the amount of money we have in our bank accounts are most important. In doing so, it blinds us from the eternal promises outlined in the Scriptures. The eternal promise of redemption is greater than the temporal satisfaction that greed presents.
Three Ways to Fight Against the Deceptive Draw of Greed
So, how do we fight against this deceptive draw of greed? Let me offer three ways.
- Remember, God is the owner of it all, you are only a steward.
When we remember that God is the Creator and He has given us the responsibility of stewarding His creation, then we find it hard to desire more. We are stewards of God’s creation. We are merely to take care of what God has already given us. Our ultimate satisfaction is in the Creator, not in the created.
- Remember, generosity is the remedy for greed.
When we are generous with our money, we keep the temptation of greed away. Now, I am not arguing for giving all of our money away; however, we should have the mindset that since God owns it all, we can freely give out of the outflow of our hearts.
- Remember, to hope in the eternal promises of the Scripture instead of in the temporal pleasures of this world.
God give us a better inheritance than greed could ever promise. The promise of eternal life is in Jesus Christ our Lord. The Scriptures say our salvation is not purchased by silver or gold but through the precious blood of Christ. If our salvation is purchased through the blood of Jesus, why do we live like the world can offer us something better?