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Two Problems with Greed

God said to him, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?”
–Luke 12:20

In Luke 12, Jesus points out two problems with greed. First, He said greed encourages us to worship money rather than worshipping God. “Worship” means “to ascribe worth to.” Whenever we worship money, we are depending on money to do what only God can do for us. When we say, “I believe a certain amount of money can satisfy my every desire,” we are asking money to do what only God can do. When we say, “I am going to accumulate enough money to protect myself from every adversity in life,” we are depending on money to do what only God can do. As a result, our dependence on money strangles out the voice of God so we cannot hear God speaking to us. In 1 Timothy 6:10 Paul wrote, “The love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

The second problem is that the whole attitude of greed is built on a lie. Here is the lie: “I get to keep everything I accumulate.” That is what the greedy person thinks. He thinks, “If I can just build up a big enough stash of money, then I will be able to purchase my pleasure and my protection.” What he doesn’t realize is that one day we are going to be separated from our possessions. In Luke 12:15, Jesus said, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”

In today’s world, we like to define people by how many possessions they have–by the car they drive, the square footage of their home, or the number of assets they have accumulated. We have a term for that: net worth. We think a person’s worth is how much he has in the bank or how much he has in investments. You add it all up, subtract the liabilities, and the remaining number that is your net worth. Have you ever thought how ludicrous it is to say that a person is worth only what he is accumulated? The reason that is so foolish is that one day we are going to be separated from our possessions. That’s why Jesus said not even when a person has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions. When is that separation from our possessions going to occur? The moment of our death. That’s what the word “death” means. Physical death is the separation of our spirit from our body that we leave behind.

Our body is not the only thing we are separated from. At death we are separated from all our possessions as well. In 1 Timothy 6:7, Paul says, “ For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.” Has that thought sunk into you? No matter how much you have, you are going to leave it all behind. There are no U-Hauls in heaven. I have been around many corpses in my ministry, and in every corpse I have ever seen the hand was open. When you die, you leave it all behind. You don’t get to keep what you accumulate in life.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Tale of Two Investors” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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