The Deadly Sin of Greed

The Deadly Sin of Greed

Today concludes our blog series focused on the Seven Deadly Sins.  Find all of the links to each post here. And to read more on this topic, check out my book, Seven Deadly Sins: The Uncomfortable Truth.


God started working on the greed of his people as soon as they cleared the Red Sea. Wilderness was their training ground for life. They were totally dependent on God. No crops. No fast food restaurants. No grocery stores. Just God. He gave them manna in the morning and quail in the evening. The instructions were simple. Gather only what you need.

Some got greedy and began to stockpile the heavenly groceries, only to discover maggots in their manna. The lesson was simple. Learn to live from the hand of God. Go out every day and work for what he gives you. On the sixth day, gather enough for the seventh day. Enough is enough. Don’t stockpile. Don’t get greedy.

The Deadly Sin of Greed Destroys Our Capacity to Trust God

Greed is a deadly sin because it destroys our capacity to trust God. It suggests that we can secure ourselves and please ourselves by the possession of things rather than in obedient relationship with God. It destroys our concern for our neighbor and for their “enough.” Greed makes us small.
But in a consuming world, can we imagine ourselves unplugged from greed? Is there a spiritual laxative that can loosen the constipation of stuff that clogs our soul? Stuff that is consumed but never passes through our hands. Stuff that clutters our lives like trinkets in a musty attic.

Greed is the gluttony of stuff.
Greed is the lust for stuff.
Greed is sloth that becomes a thoughtless consumer.
Greed is the pride of having stuff.
Greed is the envy of those who have stuff.
Greed is the anger that believes we have the right to possess stuff.

Is there any other way to live?

Living a Generous Life Not Ruled by The Deadly Sin of Greed

We began in a garden where God provided everything we would need for a rich and full life. Everything was at our fingertips – food, air, work, relationship, love, beauty, conversation, sexual joy, creative engagement, and nature. Nothing was lacking. And in this exquisite setting God was as near as daily conversation. No limits were set, except for one. No requirements were placed on us, except for one.

“Everything in the garden,” God said to us, “everything is yours to enjoy. But this tree in the center of the garden is mine and mine alone. You are not to take from it. By respecting what is mine, you will honor me as Creator and Lord.”

Tithing began in the garden. It is the act of recognizing God as Creator and Lord by respecting that which is God’s and God’s alone. It is an act of worship. We take the first tenth of all we earn and hold it up before God each week. We are saying, “This belongs to you, along with everything else you have given us. We are stewards, not owners. And you have asked that we return this tithe to you as an act of respect and reverence. In this tithe we submit our entire life to you, offering thanks for the provision of our needs, and affirming our partnership with you in the care of all creation.”

In the garden, we raided God’s tree. We took what belonged to God. We fell captive to the avarice that cannot live within boundaries. We became greedy.

Much later in our story, the people of Malachi’s day were doing the same thing again. They were giving God all the sick, diseased, scrawny animals as a sacrifice of devotion. They were treating God like a trash can. He got what they no longer needed or wanted. And God said to them in effect, “You’re raiding my tree again.”

Across the years, I‘ve heard many people opt out of tithing because it is Old Testament law, and we all know that in Christ the law has been abolished and we live under grace not law—or at least that’s how they rationalize it. Yes, tithing is found in the Old Testament law, and yes, much of the cultural law has been superseded or fulfilled in Christ. But tithing is rooted—not in law—but in the opening narrative of creation. We also see it early in Abraham’s journey when he gives a tenth of the loot from a raiding excursion to a priest named Melchizedek. This was a long time before Moses came down the mountain with stone tablets in his hands and a long list of dictated law in his back pocket.

Tithing is rooted in the narrative of our creation. Jesus has never abolished or done away with the practice of respecting that that belongs to God. He fulfills this act by enabling us to offer ourselves totally to God for the sanctification and hallowing of our entire lives. What better practice to begin with than to humbly place the tithe in an offering plate and say, “You are God and I am not. All that I have belongs to you. I return this tenth as an act of respect and worship. I cannot secure myself in this world. The ability to work and provide for myself and those I love comes from you. Grant me wisdom to use the remaining 90% as a good and wise steward.”

Greed will throw a tantrum like you’ve never seen. But eventually, it will give way to the practice of un-greed, or generosity. Enjoy tithing. God loves a cheerful giver.

Today’s post is an excerpt from Seven Deadly Sins: The Uncomfortable Truth.

Comments

  1. Holy. Moyo says:

    Tithing is a compulsion under Mosaic Law.Tithing is NOT freewill giving.Christians have No obligation to the Law..Christianity is fairh not Religion of dos and donts..
    Faith and Law dont mix.Abraham did not set an example God did not instruct us to follow Abraham in giving tenth of plunder to anyone..Abraham giving plunder ti Melchizedez was a one time event..
    Joyful giving is not tithing..And according to mosaic law tithing was of crops and animalls and produce….Please do not pervert the New Covenant of God…Those who practice anything of the law are still under a curse..Praise be to Jesus Christ who has delivered us from the curse of the Law..Why are you so blind…If you enjoy giving do so freely and all the the time..DO NOT TRY TO PERSUE THE LAW WHICH EVEN THE ISRAELITES FAILED TO KEEP….By doing that you reject the deliverance from the Law by Christ and you negate Christs sacrifice..If you want tbe Law do it all.
    We are in Christ..By faith..Not by deeds..Do leade people astray mister.Dont be the devils advocate of lies..

Speak Your Mind

*