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Tag Archives: Counterfeit Gods

Why Greed is Different Than Every Other Sin

“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

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Jesus Didn’t Come for Everyone

Jesus Christ defined the people He came for when He preached at the synagogue in Nazareth. Quoting the Prophet Isaiah, He said,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19 (ESV)

I think we tend to assume that the Lord was just waxing poetic, that really, of course, He came for everyone, perhaps with a special emphasis on the poor, the captive, the blind and the oppressed. But in the following chapters, Luke shows the Lord ministering to this very group of people.

  • He casts the demon out of the oppressed man.
  • He calls the half-wit disciples.
  • He cleanses the leper and heals the paralytic.
  • He shows up at a party for broken transgressors.
  • He ministers grace and forgiveness to the sinful woman.

Luke is making a point. It’s not just that Jesus came with a special emphasis on hurting and needy people. It’s that these are the only people He came for. The powerful and the rich? The people who “had it altogether?” Not so much.

And the lesson for us is clear – the prerequisite to receiving help from the Lord is to recognize our weakness. As Tim Keller once said,

“If you want God’s grace, all you need is need, all you need is nothing. But that kind of spiritual humility is hard to muster. We come to God saying, ‘Look at all I’ve done…'” Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller

Keller puts his finger on the problem so many people have that keeps them from receiving Jesus’ help: They don’t come to Him needy. In fact, they don’t come to Him at all. Why should they? If anything, these people reason, He should come to me. After all, “Look at all I’ve done.”

But Jesus did not come for people who were at the top of their game. He came for people who knew they were broken.

In other words, He came for people who knew…they needed Him.

For Tuesday, July 7th: Luke 5

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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