Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” – Luke 12:15 (NIV)
For some people, the meaning of life is nothing more than the acquisition of money and possessions. For some people, the amount of them they acquire is the measuring stick of how successful they’ve been in life. It’s like the saying, “He who dies with the most toys wins!” Instead of following Jesus’ command to “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed,” some people do just the opposite. They elevate greed to the level of a virtue. They regard greed as a good thing, a very good thing. After all, if life is nothing more than the acquisition of more and more, then greed is the character trait you need the most.
What, exactly, is greed? Greed is a desire. It’s an excessive desire for something. What does it desire? It could be anything, but it’s usually money and possessions. Traditionally, greed is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. It’s a sin and it’s deadly because it leads a person down a path that stands opposed to the path God wants us to follow. That is, instead of following the lead of the Holy Spirit of God, greedy people follow the dictates of their sinful desire for more. Truly greedy people do not live for God. Indeed, they cannot live for Him. They are too enslaved by their greedy desires to have any room for God. As a result, their greed ultimately leads them to death and destruction.
Further, greedy people are not satisfied with what they can acquire for themselves. They want what others have acquired as well. A greedy employer, for example, resents having to pay his employees and does what he can to pay as little as possible. A greedy politician will tip the scales of justice if it will help him acquire the wealth of someone else. Greedy people are selfish and self-centered people.
Further yet, greedy people are stingy towards God. (Luke 12:21). Since the point of life is nothing more than acquisition, there’s little desire for giving to God. Tithing, then, is out of the question. If anything is given, it’s usually just for show.
Given what greedy people are like, Jesus’ command is well taken. Don’t be like them. Be on your guard against all kinds of greed.