Last week in church, the scripture for the evening was Luke 12:13-21, “The Parable of the Rich Fool.” It is the story about the rich man who had so much he decided to build more storage barns but died on the night the barns were completed. It is a parable that I take to heart in many different ways, but the words that have really stuck with me this week is the phrase “all kinds of greed.” Jesus tells those who were listening, “Watch out! Guard yourselves against all kinds of greed, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”
I started by wondering how many kinds of greed there could be. Greed is an insatiable longing for something. So we could have an insatiable longing for money, for possessions, for friends, for a boyfriend or girlfriend, for a child, for power, for fame, for success. As I thought about it, I realized that we could be greedy (have an insatiable longing for) just about anything. The key is we want what we think we don’t have and we are unable to be satisfied by what we do have.
I have seen greed destroy lives. When a wife has an insatiable longing for someone other than her husband. When a man dedicates himself to the success of his business while ignoring his children. When a person seeks fame at any cost. When the hoarding of possessions means that grandchildren can’t visit a grandparent’s house. When the cost of a mortgage means that the house is empty because the people who would live in it are working all the time.
The key to greed for me is that word “insatiable.” When the desire cannot be satisfied, the sin of greed is the result.
So how can we combat all kinds of greed? Rest in the Lord. Be satisfied with what he has given you. Live within your means, no matter how modest they are. Trust God instead of surrounding yourself with possessions. Desire the things of God, but know how to appreciate the gifts, the people, the life you have been given.
Each day is a gift to be savored. All kinds of greed threaten to destroy that gift every day. Be content with what you have and you will go a long way toward storing up riches with God.
What kind of greed tempts you the most? How have you learned to be satisfied?