“No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Luke 16:13 (ESV)
Greed is a fascinating sin, and different than almost any other temptation or transgression. Here’s why, as Tim Keller points out in his book Counterfeit Gods, most people don’t know when they are being greedy. In contrast, every man who is committing adultery knows exactly what he is doing. Now, of course, he may be carried away in the heat of the moment, but…he still knows. Keller explains this phenomenon…
“Some years ago I was doing a seven-part series of talks on the Seven Deadly Sins at a men’s breakfast. My wife, Kathy, told me, “I’ll bet that the week you deal with greed you will have your lowest attendance.” She was right. People packed it out for “Lust” and “Wrath” and even for “Pride.” But nobody thinks they are greedy. As a pastor I’ve had people come to me to confess that they struggle with almost every kind of sin. Almost. I cannot recall anyone ever coming to me and saying, ‘I spend too much money on myself. I think my greedy lust for money is harming my family, my soul, and people around me.’ Greed hides itself from the victim. The money god’s modus operandi includes blindness to your own heart.”
Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods, Chapter 3: Money Changes Everything
Keller explains at least one aspect of this problem – most of us settle into a particular economic class, and when we look around our little town or situation in life, there are almost always people who are richer and more lavish in their habits than us. We compare ourselves to them and reason that we are doing great in the greed department. After all, we don’t have as much as the Joneses. But the rest of the world knows differently.
How do we solve this problem of greed? Keller again…
“Jesus gave up all his treasure in heaven, in order to make you his treasure—for you are a treasured people (1 Peter 2:9-10). When you see him dying to make you his treasure, that will make him yours. Money will cease to be the currency of your significance and security, and you will want to bless others with what you have. To the degree that you grasp the gospel, money will have no dominion over you. Think on his costly grace until it changes you into a generous people.”
For tomorrow, Thursday, July 24th: Luke 17