The poverty of greed

Published 10:24 pm Friday, April 27, 2012

Be very careful what you allow your heart to desire.

While I would not say that I grew up poor, I certainly did not grow up with a great deal of wealth. I vividly remember wearing the same pair of $8 shoes for the entire school year in the eighth grade. The more they wore out and tore, the more duct tape was added to them.

I grew up knowing that I wanted to at the very least be more comfortable financially than to necessitate duct tape on shoes.

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Experience has taught me that I am not alone. Many people who grow up similarly possess an inner drive that compels them to work hard to provide themselves and their families with a greater amount of financial stability.

This may even be a healthy attitude to take. However, there is an inherent trap in this way of thinking. We must be very careful not to allow an early desire to avoid embarrassment to lead to something far more sinister than wearing cheap shoes or the embarrassment than can come as a result.

Who is in worse shape? Is it the poor man or woman who has contentment, or is it the rich man or woman who is consumed with getting more?

There’s a funny thing about money and possessions: Most often, those who have them want more of them. It has been said that “Poverty wants much; greed, everything.” Those who are poor but happy want to have their needs met. Those who have much and keep wanting more only feed their greed the more they get.

When babies are born, it is often said that their wants are their needs. This is largely because their wants only consist of their needs for food and comfort.

A miser is ever in want. He can never have his needs met, because he has the fundamental belief that he always needs more. He is like a newborn infant.

What a sad state of affairs it must be to be so consumed with getting more that a man or woman mistakes their want for riches, treasures, and toys, for needs.

The more we get of this world, the more of us this world takes. Greed has a way of ensnaring us in an unending cycle of wanting more. God offers a way out.

“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” (1 Timothy 6:6-9 ESV)