How greed can over­come you

The Covington News - - Religion - JA­SON DEES COLUM­NIST Ja­son Dees is a grate­ful fol­lower of Je­sus Christ, the hus­band of Paige and the fa­ther of Emery Anna. He is also the se­nior pas­tor of First Bap­tist Church in Cov­ing­ton.

Je­sus once said to his dis­ci­ples, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not con­sist in the abun­dance of his pos­ses­sions” (Luke 12:15 NIV). This is an in­ter­est­ing warn­ing to be aware of, or to watch out for greed. It is as if Je­sus is say­ing that greed can over­come you with­out you even be­ing aware.

The in­ter­est­ing thing about greed is that it is a sin that is very easy to be guilty of, with­out you even know­ing it. If you are a thief, you may not feel bad about steal­ing, you may be able to jus­tify your ac­tions, but you know what you are do­ing. If you are com­mit­ting adul­tery, again you may have jus­ti­fied that sin in your mind, but you aren’t un­aware of it. Greed is dif­fer­ent. I don’t know any­one who thinks they are greedy. In fact, as a pas­tor, peo­ple will come to me from time to time to talk about their sins. Peo­ple will say, “I have a prob­lem with anger,” or “lust,” or even “pride,” but no one has ever said to me, “I have a prob­lem with greed.”

In Je­sus’ ser­mon on the mount he tells his dis­ci­ples that where their trea­sure is, their heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21) He then gives his dis­ci­ples a very pe­cu­liar warn­ing about be­ing blind in verses 22 and 23, be­fore warn­ing them again about greed say­ing, “You can­not serve God and money” (verse 24). Je­sus is telling his dis­ci­ples that greed is the sin that makes peo­ple blind.

None of us have been in­ten­tion­ally greedy. We don’t sit around and say, “How can I take ad­van­tage of peo­ple to­day?” or, “What can I buy for my­self that I don’t need?” But we are all greedy be­cause we are all more in­clined to think about the things that we don’t have than we are to think about those things that we do have. When­ever I buy some­thing that I don’t need, I can jus­tify it by say­ing to my­self, “Well so and so has some­thing even nicer than this.” In those mo­ments I am not quick to think about the poor or the bil­lions of peo­ple in this world who lit­er­ally have noth­ing.

If you are an Amer­i­can earn­ing at least a min­i­mum wage in­come, you are one of the wealth­i­est peo­ple in the world. I want to en­cour­age you to heed the words of Je­sus and to “watch out for all kinds of greed.” It is so easy to be blind to our greed, so please take these three sug­ges­tions for fight­ing this hid­den sin. First, con­fess your greed to the Lord in prayer, and ask the Lord to set you free from the sin of greed. Ask the Lord to make you aware of your greed and to show you when and how you are greedy. Se­condly, seek ac­count­abil­ity. Find some trust­wor­thy peo­ple in your life and ask them if there are any ar­eas of greed in your life. Have you spent too much money on a house or a car? How does your buy­ing for your­self com­pare with your giv­ing to oth­ers? Thirdly, and fi­nally, set some min­i­mum mark­ers for gen­eros­ity. I be­lieve that any per­son who isn’t giv­ing away at least 10 per­cent of their in­come is greedy. God set the tithe in place to be a marker. It isn’t a rule for those who have been set free from the law in Christ but it is a great guide­line.

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