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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1069. Be on your guard against all kinds of greed (3/6/24)

This week in our Luke series, we are focussing on Luke 12:13-34, where the theme is our relationship to wealth. Today, we see how we are all vulnerable to, and need to be on our guard against greed. 

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) 

Lesson: Greed is an enemy that we must constantly guard against. 


You can listen to this devotional at:



I think that most people would want to be richer. I think that we all assume that having more would make us more happy. Now, we’re not talking about getting out of poverty, of course that would make us happier; I’m talking about having enough yet wanting more - I think that most of us want that. Jim Carey, the actor, cautioned against this attitude: 

"I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of, so they can see that it's not the answer." (Jim Carey)

Most of us would respond, “I know that money doesn’t buy happiness but I’d like to try it out!” Jesus warns us to, “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” The main three terms He uses are: 


i. ‘Watch out’ (horaó) - To see, watch, perceive, attend to. 

ii. ‘Be on your guard’ (phylássō) - To guard, keep away from, beware. emphasises the needed vigilance to keep what is entrusted. 

iii. Against all kinds of greed (pleonexía) - An inordinate desire for riches, covetousness, avarice, grasping, scheming to extort. 


It reminds me of what we read regarding Cain, when he is warned about the need to protect himself against sin:

‘Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?  If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”’ (Genesis 4:6)

And how do we protect ourselves against the sin of greed? Firstly, we need to be humble, and know that we are vulnerable. Jesus tells us to "watch out, be on your guard against all kinds of greed" because we are vulnerable.  Those who know themselves to be susceptible to greed, as we all are, will do what's necessary to protect themselves. It’s as when you are in an area where you are told to be on your guard against pickpockets. In such a place, one zips up pockets, takes a phone out of a back pocket etc. Likewise, the ‘pickpocket’ of greed is active in your life, be on your guard that he doesn’t rob you of contentment and generosity! 


life does not consist in an abundance of possessions

Jesus teaches that ‘life does not consist in an abundance of possessions’, which is the message that greed would want us to believe - and most of us have bought into this! In most towns, shopping centres have become the new cathedrals where we devotedly make pilgrimage and give our wealth. 


Response

Greed is an enemy that we must constantly guard against. Do we think about this enemy very often? Do we assume that we are immune to greed’s attacks? The danger is that if we have been unaware and passive in regard to this enemy, we are likely under its power in some way. How is greed affecting you? How are you tempted to be jealous and  horde wealth? Do we think that more stuff is true life? Are we wasting our money on what we don’t need in the pursuit of the lie that life is found in possessions? May we do as we are commanded: 


‘Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.’ (Colossians 3:5-7)
 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


There are no groups this week due to our week of prayer. Please look at Church News or contact the church office for details.

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