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All Kinds

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 12:15 NIV

You may remember the Greek myth about King Midas and the tragedy of greed. Midas was a king of Phrygia in Asia Minor who wished everything he touched would turn gold. Dionysus (there were a lot of Greek gods), the god of wine and merriment, granted his wish, but Midas soon realized that it was not a blessing but a curse. His covetousness led him to spend his days counting his golden coins and covering his body with gold objects. But, one day, when he hugged his daughter, Marigold, she turned into a golden statue. Despaired and fearful, he prayed to Dionysus to take this curse from him. Dionysus instructed him to wash his hands in the river Pactolus, which turned the river's sands into gold. The moral of the story? True happiness is not found in material wealth. 

When we think about greed, we often think about monetary wealth, like Midas. But it isn't limited to money. Today's verse warns us against "all kinds of greed" and introduces the Parable of the Rich Fool (v. 13-21). For the rich man, it was an excess of grain, causing him to tear down his old barns and build new ones to store the excess for himself. The greed was not in having a surplus but in his actions of selfishness, "I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I'll say to myself, 'You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.'" (v. 18-19)

In addition to money and possessions, we can be insatiable for other things, attention, fame, gifts, that next high–anything that leaves us with an unhealthy hunger for more. Greed is always self-centered and leaves us yearning for more. 

Greed, in any form, draws us away from God. A better way to say it is greed blinds us spiritually. We become the center of attention; it's all about "me, me, me." But in chasing that impossible dream, for it can never be fulfilled, we miss out on the good things God desires for us, like love. We cannot love others when we remain focused solely on ourselves and our desires; if we are honest, we cannot love ourselves despite our self-centeredness.

To overcome greed, we have to draw the circle wider than ourselves, and the only way to do that is by accepting Jesus into our lives. When we humble ourselves before Christ, we acknowledge that the world doesn't exist solely for us. God has a broader purpose. When we allow God to make that change, we go from an attitude of "eat, drink, and be merry" to sharing and caring for others. 

Dear God, we thank you for your love and grace. We ask that you help us be fruitful and bear good fruit that glorifies you. We pray that we do not fall into the trap of greed and materialism but instead focus on the things that truly matter. Help us to be content with what we have and to share our blessings with others. We pray that we use our resources wisely and for the benefit of all. We ask that you guide us in our daily lives and help us to be good stewards of your gifts. In Jesus' name, we pray, Amen.


Pastor Tim

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