Brother Felmar Serreno: Hi there, and thank you for joining us again on this podcast version of God’s Message magazine. Shoutout to all our avid listeners, our friends, and our brothers and sisters around the world. Thank you for constantly listening and even promoting this podcast. As for our topic today, it’s “Watch Out For Greed.”
It is natural for people to try and better their condition in life. The usual and socially accepted process is to acquire a good education that leads to a lucrative career. This, as perceived, will lead to financial stability, material possessions, and other perks that come with being well-off in life.
However, too many people, even after achieving what others would deem as a successful stature, still desire for more and more, and are willing to do anything to realize their ambitions, be it through fraud, corruption, scams, and even the taking of other people’s life. What have such people fallen to is greed, which, as defined by the dictionary, on merriam-webster.com, is a selfish and excessive desire for more of something than is needed.
The evil of being greedy
Brother Felmar Serreno: To be greedy does not only refer to an excessive desire to consume food (which is also called gluttony), but it also refers to a desperate craving, for riches, power, fame, or pleasure, no matter how, no matter the cost. All because of the misguided belief that the more a person has, the more complete his life would be. But is it true that a person’s worth is measured by what he has attained materially? This statement of Christ answers that question:
And he went on to say to them all, “Watch out and guard yourselves from every kind of greed; because a person’s true life is not made up of the things he owns, no matter how rich he may be.”
[Luke 12:15 Good News Bible]
Brother Felmar Serreno: It is a great mistake then to think that, the more a person owns, the more his life is complete. To clamor for more than what one essentially needs is a manifestation of greed. And the danger of being greedy is that it can cause him to forget about God, thus:
The wicked are proud of their evil desires; the greedy curse and reject the LORD. The wicked do not care about the LORD; in their pride they think that God doesn’t matter.
[Psalm 10:3-4 Good News Bible]
Brother Felmar Serreno: The greedy reject God. They assume that all they have achieved is because of their own intellect and effort. And that through their wealth, and the power that usually comes with it, they assume to have an answer for every predicament or problem. They have placed their trust in what they have accomplished due to greed, and not in God.
The greedy according to the Bible
Brother Felmar Serreno: Now many people may deny that they are greedy, but how does the Bible identify those who are? Who are those who feel compelled to accumulate and hoard as much as they can? The Bible says this:
Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness And his chambers by injustice, Who uses his neighbor’s service without wages And gives him nothing for his work, Yet your eyes and your heart are for nothing but your covetousness, For shedding innocent blood, And practicing oppression and violence.
[Jeremiah 22:13, 17 New King James Version]
Brother Felmar Serreno: So, an employer who holds back the honestly-earned wages of an employee is practicing greed. So, too, is one who hires a service, but then is not willing to pay for it. Others who have an insatiable appetite for wealth and power also practice extortion, or taking unwarranted advantage of others through business transactions as stated in Ezekiel 22:12 in the New International Version:
In you men accept bribes to shed blood; you take usury and excessive interest and make unjust gain from your neighbors by extortion. And you have forgotten me, declares the Sovereign LORD.
[Ezekiel 22:12 New International Version]
Brother Felmar Serreno: Such individuals have no scruples and couldn’t care less of their victims’ plight. Their focus is on how to gain as much as possible. On a grander scale, there are those who embezzle large sums of money from corporations, and others even from the elderly or working-class people, leaving behind those whose lives have been ruined due to oftentimes losing their life’s savings.
How else can the avaricious be identified? Isaiah 1:23 Good News Bible teaches this:
Your leaders are rebels and friends of thieves; they are always accepting gifts and bribes. They never defend orphans in court or listen when widows present their case.
[Isaiah 1:23 Good News Bible]
Brother Felmar Serreno: So those holding lofty positions in the government or society, who accept bribes or payoffs, are not only greedy, but also are acting wickedly, unworthy of the trust of the citizenry that had placed them in office.
Voracity or greed can even be found among some who claim to be religious or God-fearing, as declared by the Lord God through the Prophet Ezekiel:
So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain.
[Ezekiel 33:31 New King James Version]
Brother Felmar Serreno: This is evident in those who adhere to the health and wealth gospel or prosperity gospel, which others define as “a belief among some Christians that God rewards those who live faithful lives with material wealth” (lexico.com).
Tragically, this has led not just a few people to consider serving God as a means to become prosperous, others treating religion as just another business venture. Their service and worship of God is just in the form of lip-service, because what they ultimately seek is material gain.
Giving God ‘first place’ in one’s life
Brother Felmar Serreno: Church Of Christ members are often reminded that they should be very careful how they live their life, and most especially that they should be serving God for the proper reasons. Their list of priorities in life should be very clear and adhered to; always God first. If so, everything else in their life will fall into place. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself reminds His true followers, thus:
So don’t worry at all about having enough food and clothing. Why be like the heathen? For they take pride in all these things and are deeply concerned about them. But your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well that you need them, and he will give them to you if you give him first place in your life and live as he wants you to.
[Matthew 6:31-33 Living Bible]
Brother Felmar Serreno: It is good for a Church Of Christ member to be diligent in his livelihood and to have goals for himself and his household. But it is greediness on the part of that same Church Of Christ member if he devotes all his time and energy in the quest for a better life, and ends up forsaking his spiritual obligations to God. On the other hand, a member of the Church who does give God first place in his life by being devoted to worshiping and serving Him, will be blessed by God with his basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter, which of course he will still have to work for through honest means.
But why should members of the Church Of Christ live their lives in accordance with God’s teachings, including not to be greedy for material wealth? Aren’t they losing out on what the world has to offer by expending their life in busying themselves in doing righteous deeds? No, they are not. Apostle Paul proved this:
Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they make take hold of the life that is truly life.
[I Timothy 6:18-19 New International Version]
The rich before God’s sight
Brother Felmar Serreno: Now, some people have an insatiable appetite to amass as much material wealth as possible, with the hope of achieving early retirement, and enjoying what remains of their life in security and peace. If that is all that matters to them, such people may be rich in the sight of their fellow men but poor in the eyes of God and thus will not be saved, as clarified by the Lord Jesus Christ:
Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
[Luke 12:16-21 New King James Version]
Brother Felmar Serreno: But members of the Church Of Christ, who are rich in good works (even if they had to make sacrifices in doing so) are investing in “the life that is truly life” which is everlasting. So how do God’s people strive to live as they make their way through this world? With contentment:
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
[Hebrews 13:5 New International Version]
God will supply all our needs
Brother Felmar Serreno: Church Of Christ members are reminded to live within (and not beyond) their means. Yes, they also aim and strive to achieve their ambitions to improve their condition in life, yet, as long as they have what they need to live decently, and most importantly to continue their service and worship to God, they should be content.
They are always admonished not to exchange the unequaled treasure of salvation and eternal life promised to God’s chosen people (I Peter 2:9-10; Romans 5:8-9), for the material wealth of this world, which is temporary and will not save a person come Judgment Day (Zephaniah 1:18). Hence, when difficult times arise, they remember God’s promise to them, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
They can avail of these promises of God by asking Him through prayer:
Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And with all his abundant wealth through Christ Jesus, my God will supply all your needs.
[Philippians 4:6, 19 Good News Bible]
Brother Felmar Serreno: Members of the Church Of Christ all throughout the world can attest to the truthfulness of this biblical pronouncement. They have experienced various kinds of challenges and hardships, including financial constraints, but when they pray to God through our Lord Jesus Christ (John 15:16), they receive the blessings that they need. Hence, to overcome their predicament, they are inspired to remain fulfilling their spiritual obligations, fully believing in what the Bible declares, that if they do so until the end, they will be saved:
This calls for endurance on the part of God’s people, those who obey God’s commandments and are faithful to Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Happy are those who from now on die in the service of the Lord!” “Yes indeed!” answers the Spirit. “They will enjoy rest from their hard work, because the results of their service go with them.”
[Revelation 14:12-13 Good News Bible]
Brother Felmar Serreno: For more articles like these, get your copy of God’s Message Magazine from a member of the Church Of Christ. You can listen and subscribe to this podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, and the INC Media mobile app. Thank you for listening. I’m Brother Felmar Serreno. God bless.
Christian Media: Where Truth Meets You
Christian Media: Where Truth Meets You
Christian Media: Where Truth Meets You
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