All Kinds Of Greed 1 — The Hoarder & The Green-Eyed
Updated: Apr 5, 2020
Chan Gin Kai
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:13-15)
Jesus was teaching about guarding against hypocrisy, commitment to Jesus, and how the Spirit will help us during times of persecution, when a man interrupted him with a strange request; he asked Jesus to help him in an inheritance dispute with his brother. Instead of focusing on what Jesus was teaching, he was more consumed with his problems. Haven’t we been just as distracted during sermons or our Bible studies before?
Jesus replied the man with a warning to watch out for “all kinds of greed”. So apparently there are many different kinds of greed. Jesus didn’t name them here, but let’s identify a few types of greedy people we’ve met… the Hoarder, the Green-Eyed, the Entitled, the Spendthrift.
A Hoarder has a continual lust for more; an insatiable desire to accumulate possessions, pleasure, prestige and power.
We should all have a responsible healthy self-love and self-care, but we mustn’t cross the line from enjoying our God-given blessings to greed.
Now it is wise to be fiscally prudent and save up for a rainy day. Indeed, there is nothing wrong with being financially successful, and I know a few wealthy people whom I won’t regard as hoarders. It is not about how much we have, but our attitude towards possessions. How much does the pursuit of possessions occupy our mind and time? How far are we willing to bend to gain them?
Pleasure is a God-imbued gift, feelings created in our body and mind for us to enjoy. But what God intends for us to appreciate, we often abuse. When we cross the boundaries of pleasure into gluttony, sexual immorality, drunkenness and drugs, we pervert God’s perfect intentions.
Prestige and power are blessings we often turn to curses. They stroke the ego, and easily corrupt even the best amongst us. Sadly, these useful tools that can be harnessed to do much good is often applied to selfish gain, to the detriment of others.
We are created with a God-shaped hole in our heart that only God can fill. But we attempt to stuff it with God’s gifts instead of God. It sates us for a moment, but the emptiness echoes even louder. We cram even more things into the void, only to fail, thus setting off a vicious cycle of insatiable greed.
The Hoarder’s desire can never be satisfied, and the Hoarder can never feel truly happy. As the quantity he has matters more than the functions they serve, the Hoarder never really enjoys what he has accumulated. When the pursuit of more becomes his priority in life; everything and everyone else fall a distance behind. Relationships suffer, and the gaping hole in the heart grows even larger.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Corinthians 6:6-10)
Unlike the Hoarder, the Green-Eyed does not pursue more to fill the void in his heart. He competes to get one-up over others.
Evolution favours the fittest, and society rewards the best. Competition always exists and is even good for us. It spurs us to improve, innovate and invent.
But whenever we’re not careful, the competitive animal in us mutates into the Green-Eyed monster. Instead of feeling happy and celebrating others’ achievements, we wonder why we’re not the ones who have attained it. We feel we deserve better. We question why others whom we think less deserving or deem less worthy get rewarded. We grow envious and competitive… and greed sets in.
This envious greed can manifest in any aspect of our life: grades in school, promotions at work, recognition from peers, attention from the opposite gender, favouritism at home, respect at church, and more. Do you feel genuinely happy for others or is there a mix of envy somewhere in there? Does that feeling corrupt your motivation in the things you do?
That warped motivation, greed, robs us of the joy we’ll normally find in the things we do. We become more interested in the destination than the journey, and we won’t be happy either if others arrive before we do. It also affects our relationship with the ones we’re competing against.
For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. (James 3:16)
God created us with love, and planned for us with care. But when we allow greed to set in, we warp His plans and destroy ourselves.
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Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. He serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry of the Central Christian Church. He describes himself as “just a sinner who wants to get right with God”.