When was the last time you thought through this question: “Why do I have the things that I have?” It may be surprising to learn that the way we answer that question determines the quality of our lives - and it all surrounds the enemy of the heart known as greed.
The word “greed” usually makes us think of money, but in reality, the enemy of greed can apply to everything we believe that we “own” - and when we start to dive into the concept of greed, we find out that Jesus cared a lot about how greed impacts our lives. So much, in fact, that he talks about it more than any other topic in the Bible.
In Luke 12, Jesus tells the parable of a rich man to answer a question he gets about money, greed, and the importance of living a life that doesn’t orbit the stuff we have. While it isn’t bad to have a lot of things - even a lot of nice things - the trouble starts when we view what we have as ours and ours alone, and start spending (or saving!) with the sole purpose of owning as much as we can.
We know that life is not measured by how much we own - but it can be especially tough in a society like ours not to fall into the trap of greed, especially when we’re constantly being told how discontent we should be. So how do we guard against greed?
1. Stop and ask, “God, what should I do with the extra?”
When we’re good stewards of what’s been given to us, there will be times when we have extra left over. Be intentional about asking God how you can use that extra instead of immediately viewing it as a “bonus.” Let God in on how he can help you best utilize what he’s given you.
2. Shift your perspective from an owner to a manager
The truth is that when it comes to everything we have, it was all given to us by God. In reality, we don’t “own” anything - and we won’t take any of it with us when we go. So instead of holding tightly to what you have, begin to look at all that you’ve been given with a sense of responsibility, not a sense of ownership.
3. Give to kill greed
The best way to guard against greed is to start being generous! When we’ve asked God to help us determine what to do with the extra, and when we’ve shifted our perspective from owners of our stuff to managers of it, we can begin to live freely with a spirit of giving. When we choose to give, we choose to tangibly express that what we have is not all for us, and we can live knowing that our hearts are not controlled by what we have.
Greed can get an ugly hold on our hearts - but we can be intentional about guarding our hearts from it. Keep in mind that it’s not about what we have, but remembering why we have it. What story do you want to tell with what you have?
Hear more about greed, generosity, and how to shift your perspective from an owner to a manager in our message Generosity Kills Greed from our sermon series Enemies of the Heart.