“Watching Out for Greed”

Scripture: Luke 12:13-21

The third enemy of the heart? Greed. It’s when we feel that we deserve more and more worldly wealth and goods. Greed says, “I owe me.”

Jesus said, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed.” Why? Because of the four heart conditions we’re considering, greed is the most subtle of all. Greed can take up residence in the heart and live there for years undetected. The unguarded heart is highly susceptible to this debilitating disease. It’s difficult to diagnose—especially to self-diagnose.

Jesus went on to uncover the lie that fuels all greed: “Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” But doesn’t everybody know that? Do people really believe that their lives are equivalent to what they own? The answer is no and yes. No, not everybody knows that. And yes, there are people who believe that your life is pretty much the sum total of what you own. And many of us today are more prone to this belief than we might imagine.

After telling a parable, Jesus gave his definition of a greedy person: someone who stores up things for himself or herself but isn’t rich toward God. Being “rich toward God” is Jesus-talk for being generous toward those in need. A greedy person is the man or woman who saves carefully but gives sparingly.

Generous giving will break the grip of greed on your life. So whether or not you think you have extra, give and give generously. You’ve got to give to the point that it forces you to adjust your lifestyle. If you’re not willing to give to the point that it impacts your lifestyle, then according to Jesus, you’re greedy. If you’re consuming to the point of having little or nothing left to give, you’re greedy. If you’re consuming and saving to the point that there’s little or nothing left to give, you’re greedy.

I know that’s strong. Actually, it’s harsh.

But it’s true.

Break the power of greed through the habit of generous giving. It’s a habit that changes everything.

Assess your generosity in giving over the last twelve months. What does your charitable giving say about your heart? Pray about what it would look like for you to launch into a new level of generosity in the next twelve months.

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