2005-07-29 - Avarice
The Seven Deadly Sins Series, Part 3
Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary (via AOL) defines avarice as the Old French word for an ..."excessive or insatiable desire for wealth or gain."
When we think of greed, we probably think of such obvious examples as the game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionare" or people who focus their hopes and dreams on winning the lottery. People have always wanted "something for nothing."
As Solomon pronounced, "there is nothing new under the sun." And today this attitude has infiltrated all income classes, and to our shame, is even found among us Christians.
So what is the problem with greed, anyway? At its, best, greed is a distraction from what we should be about - finding and following God's will in our lives. When we are obsessed with "more more more," our values derail. Money or possessions become the bottom line for us.
At its worst, greed wrecks families (husbands and wives that whork such long hours they never see their children, families split up over inheritances etc.) and greed even takes lives. It's often a factor, albeit not on the surface. For example, when you see a story about someone who was savagely beaten, or shot over a drug deal "gone bad" - if you peel that onion, you find greed in the center, the greed of those making money off people's addictions. Don't ever believe drugs are a "nonviolent crime," for people do things on drugs, that humans should never even think of doing to each other. I know youngsters read these, so I won't get graphic, but suffice it to say that some of it would make you sick.
In Luke 7, Jesus warned against greed: 20 He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' 21 For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.'"
As Jesus pointed out, greed is a matter of the heart. And in a way, it's also idolatry, for if we are greedy, we have put money - or possessions - in the place that rightfully belongs to God. Greed is like the mold that spreads in a shut-up house. It feeds on itself and multiplies. I urge you to ask God to help you examine your heart, to see if it harbors any greed, and if needed, to disinfect your heart.