I don’t know about you, but when I think of greedy people, I immediately think of Ebeneezer Scrooge. He’s grumpy, cheep, tight-fisted, and cares for no one but himself. But most importantly, he doesn’t exist.
That doesn’t mean greed isn’t real. It is, however, easier to recognize in others than in ourselves. Why is that?
Unlike other sins, greed is more of a lifestyle than an incident. It’s not like murder or stealing or adultery, where you can look at a specific date and time and say, “I committed the sin of murder then.”
No one likes to be accused of being greedy. But to recognize it in yourself, you have to do some serious introspection.
So how do you know whether your greedy or not? Here are some questions you can ask yourself.
What do you do with your money?
I’m not talking about paying bills, buying groceries, gas, or rent. Those are the things we are obligated to do with our money. We have to eat, so we buy groceries. And if we want to continue living in our homes, we have to pay rent and mortgage. I’m talking about what you chose to do with what’s left over at the end of the month.
Analyzing our spending habits can tell us a lot about ourselves. Not just where our favorite restaurants and theaters are. But how quick are you to help someone?
Are you as generous with your money as you are your time? Or would you rather keep your stuff all to yourself? Do you give gladly and without expecting someone to pay you back, or do you only grudgingly depart with the things you value?
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NKJV) But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
Why do you help people?
The Bible says we are to pray in private and not to be seen or heard by men. The same can be said for giving.
Are you helping others just so people can see how generous you are? Do you long for someone to put your name on a placard or on the side of a building in recognition of your good deeds?
Matthew 6:1-4 (NKJV) “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
More than money or praise, there is thing we should crave–our heavenly reward. We can’t buy our way to heaven. Only God can grant us that gift.
What do you do with your Sundays?
Now, I know some of us actually have to work on Sundays. There are some jobs that don’t close on the weekends, and there are people who have to work them. A lot of those jobs pay better on the weekends, and I can understand the draw.
If you have to work on Sundays, there’s a lot of temptation to just not bother with church. Much easier to stay home and rest.But there are ways around this problem.
If you have to work on Sunday, maybe you can take an early shift and go to church after work. Or the opposite. Maybe there’s a congregation in your area with services that fit into your schedule. And let’s not forget, a lot of churches meet on days other than Sunday. Hopefully you can find something that will work for you.
But if you’d rather work than be with your fellow Christians? You can’t feed your soul by staying away from God.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJV) And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Who do you rely on to solve your problems?
Sure, having money can make things go easier. We always rest better knowing we can pay our bills and feed our children without worrying about the amount we have in the bank. However, money can’t solve all of our problems. In fact, most of us aren’t rich enough to make our problems go away by throwing money at it.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct[a] your paths.
Some things take divine intervention to fix. For some things, we have to rely on God. And that’s hard, because while we can control our money, we can’t control God.
It all comes down to what do you put first in your life–God or money? Putting God first requires a conscious decision on our part, because the sin of greed can sneak up on us. There’s nothing wrong with money, but there is something wrong with loving it too much.
1 Timothy 6:10 (NKJV) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Let’s face it. We’re always going to struggle with money. Clutch God. Not your wallet.