Moving From Greed To Generosity

      Years ago when we lived in Indianapolis, Indiana, I was called by a funeral home to perform the eulogy for a person I had never met. I connected with the family and then performed the funeral.  During the funeral, one of the family members skipped the service, went to the home of the deceased, changed the locks on the house, and began taking items they wanted from the home.  Greed, it’s ugly.  People should matter more than money and possessions, but so many get this wrong.  The old Greek myth about King Midas and the “gift” of everything he touched turning to gold shows the destruction of a greedy heart.  Greed, the insatiable hunger for more, is an old sin.  We even see it in the Garden of Eden.  Adam and Eve had everything they physically needed and a beautiful, intimate relationship with God, yet they “bit” when Satan offered them MORE. Many of the Hebrew prophets (i.e. Isaiah, Elijah, Amos, Micah) and even Jesus Himself warned against the dangers and consequences of greed (Luke 12:15).   As we approach Christmas, let us embrace the values of contentment and generosity rather than grasping materialism. 
      First, embrace contentment as the lens through which we look at life.  Alfred Nobel once said, “Contentment is the only real wealth.”  Our family drives old cars. The other day one of our cars would not start, at Lathrop High School. Therefore, at –25 I am out there trying to get the vehicle started.  My mind could go down the route of frustration—"why do I have drive stupid old cars that create hassle?”  However, a better lens would be, “God, thank you for this vehicle that has served us faithfully for years in some of the harshest temperatures in the country.”  I have read that only 8% of the world’s population has the privilege of owning a car (#struggles, Craig Groeschel, 40).  The striving for more is insatiable.  At some point, it would be wise to embrace the word ENOUGH.   There is peace in ENOUGH. 
      Second, embrace generosity.  This virtue is an antidote to the toxic materialism of our culture.  This generosity can involve the sharing of our time, talents and treasures.  At the heart of the Christian faith is our generous Creator giving his Son Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins (John 3:16).  If we claim God as our Father, we should look like Him.  We should walk in generosity.  I cannot imagine that at the end of my life when I stand before God and answer for what I did with my resources that I will hear Him say, “Derek, I really wish you would have spent more on yourself.”  As Christians our money and possessions are not ours, they are resources we are to manage for God’s glory and humanity’s good.   In the famous piece of literature “A Christmas Carol” we watch as the miserly character Scrooge slowly released the grip of greed on his heart and began to let generosity flow.   This Christmas season let’s move from striving for MORE to appreciating ENOUGH, and ultimately to joyfully GIVE.        

Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church
  
         
     

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