My church has just started a sermon series on the Seven Deadly Sins, addressing what they look like in our lives and, more importantly, how we can live lives free from their power. Two Sundays ago, one of our pastors spoke on the sin of Greed and I want to take some time today to talk about something that has been weighing on my heart for a long time.
We live in a greedy, greedy world. And I think, for the most part, we’ve stopped caring about that fact.
The rise of consumerism, coupled with an extra helping of radical individualism has transformed us as a culture. The American dream has been changed from “a better life [than the oppressive one we left behind] for our children” to “the best I can get.” We are no longer content with anything. We can have food on our plate, clothes on our back, and a roof over our heads, and we are often FAR from content.
We want more.
And I’m not immune.
My family’s budget is tight. Not ‘cutting milk with water to make it go further’ tight, but we have to keep a very close reign on what we spend. We pay our bills, have enough to eat, put a little money aside for our kids’ education, and have a little extra to squirrel away for harder months.
Generally, it’s pretty awesome.
Except when it’s not.
I like going for coffee. Which is weird, because I prefer tea. I also have more hobbies than most households combined. Usually, if I have extra money at the end of the month that is ‘mine,’ I will drop it on one of these pastimes. I don’t stop to think about those less fortunate than myself, I just spend my money on me.
Is that what we’re called to?
I look at the Bible and I see a call to RADICAL sacrifice. Following Jesus can cost us EVERYTHING. This flies in the face of greed. We have to be willing to give up our right to coffee, to hobbies, to new cars and new clothes and new toys. We have to be willing to wrestle with the size of our house and our monthly budgets. Especially here in the West, where many of the things we buy come at the cost of someone’s well being in the developing world.
Yet, by the grace of God, change is occurring. God’s Spirit moves, and in my life I feel a stronger pull to living an ethical life than to buying more things. Since starting tithing over five years ago, money has become less and less of a stumbling block in my journey. If this is true of me, I have to believe it is true of Christians around the world.
If we stop to listen, maybe God will change our hearts. If we ask Him to change us, maybe He will.
Maybe Greed can be replaced with compassion.