Running the Race: Greed - Hope 103.2

Running the Race: Greed

Each week we talk about some different aspect of the Christian life, and you always encourage us. But today, we’re talking about something that I think a lot of us struggle with the issue of greed. Mal Gill from Sydney Missionary and Bible College (SMBC) explains Greed from a biblical perspective.It’s something that’s inherent within us. […]

By Sam RobinsonFriday 7 Oct 2016FRESHChristian LivingReading Time: 5 minutes

Each week we talk about some different aspect of the Christian life, and you always encourage us. But today, we’re talking about something that I think a lot of us struggle with the issue of greed. Mal Gill from Sydney Missionary and Bible College (SMBC) explains Greed from a biblical perspective.

It’s something that’s inherent within us. It’s one of the first words that a child learns and usually without a parent teaching them. I’m not sure how, what in the brain clicks into gear, but I know for myself when our children were very small, we’d have a birthday, and you’d often play that old school game Pass the Parcel. They don’t even get the rules, they know you pass the parcel around, the music plays, but there’s something in their brain that ticks after a few years that they realise, “Actually if I hold onto this long enough, this will all be mine.” And so they get greedy, and you eventually have to say, “Hey, Billy, pass the parcel,” you know? And the parents join in.

There’s something inherent within us that looks out for yourself, and I think that’s the basis for greed.

What is greed?

Greed is holding onto things, whether it’s money, whether it’s something valuable to us where we think, “Life is all about me.” So greed, in essence, is saying life and-or something that we own is ours, and it’s just ours because we are the most important thing and our happiness is the most important thing. And it’s funny, it’s one of those where we talk about kids and joke about kids, but even as we grow older, there’s an element of that.

We had some children over to our house and my son; he loves his Lego. He’s got these cool Lego things all over his house, and he has the Millennium Falcon made of, you know, a thousand Lego bits. And it’s funny when kids come over, and they start playing with it, part of me as the dad thinks, “Hey, kids, just be careful with that.” It’s not even mine; it’s my son’s. But there’s something, even as we get older, we’re like that. And I think it’s the idea that we find happiness or we think we find happiness in the things that are ours, that we’re in control, that we own them. So even there’s a sticker that I’ve seen on the back of cars sometimes, and it’ll say, “He who has the most toys wins.” As if your collecting will make you happy and you’ll feel better about yourself, and that’s really at the heart of greed. And at the same time, I saw one bumper sticker once that said, “He who has the most toys still dies,” you know? And that’s a bit of reality there.

The Bible speaks a lot about greed. I was just thinking about storing up toys for yourself, but you know, Solomon’s storing up wealth and all through the Bible, right?

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That’s correct. In fact, Jesus says in Luke 12; he says, “Beware. Guard against every kind of greed.” Why? Because life is not measured by how much, you own. But that’s totally against our nature, what Jesus is saying. Why? Because we think, life is measured by how much we have. And greed is around, and it can take a lot of different shapes, but certainly that’s our natural propensity. But that can master us. When we think life is about us, it’s about our happiness, it’s about our belongings, they can be taken away just like that. So that’s not where we wanna be putting our trust.

So how do we change out of that mindset? If it’s our natural kind of the thing is to be greedy, how do we turn and be selfless with our possessions and our belongings?

We need to recognise that they’re not our possessions. And what I mean by that is this: when I have a couple of children, so I have three children, and now and then, I’ll give them a bit of pocket money, or I’ll buy them a gift. And so I will pull some money out of our bank, buy them a gift, and they get the gift. And now sometimes when they argue over the gift, they won’t share…let’s say it’s a Lego, they won’t let their sister play with it. But then I’ll say to them, “You should share.” And my son, Adam, will say, “No, it’s mine.” But at the end of the day, Adam doesn’t have a job. Adam didn’t take any money out of his bank. I’m really in one sense the owner. I gave it to my son as a gift.

And at that level, when we think about it that way, every good thing we have comes from the Father of Lights who has given it to us. Whatever we have, He has simply entrusted to us. It’s not because of our genius, it’s not because of our brilliance, but God gives us all things to share, to bless others, and that’s why even Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” So I think when we recognise everything we have, whether it’s a good job, whether it’s house, whether it’s a car, these are things that God has blessed us with. How does He bless us? He gives us good minds so that we can work, that we can earn money. But He doesn’t do that so that we’ll just hold onto the parcel, as it were. He gives us these blessings so that we might pass that blessing onto others.

Fantastic, Mal. You’ve encouraged me to be working towards being selfless.

Each Sunday, FRESH presenter Sam Robinson chats with Malcolm Gill, lecturer at Sydney Missionary and Bible College (SMBC), about different aspects of living the Christian life—or ‘running the race’. Hear them on air Sundays at 6.20am and 9.20am, or on FRESH just after 9pm each Saturday.