Christianity 201

January 1, 2012

Giving is the Anecdote to Greed

With the start of a new month, I go back to see what sources we linked to six months ago, and also to see if there’s original anything that was published twelve months ago that might be repeated, as well as sources from that month.  Unless you have staff, doing something like this on a daily basis is no small task, and sadly I occasionally run into great blogs that have stopped publishing, such as Feeding the Soul from BBG Ministry.  However, if I had staff, I’d spend much effort on mining the depths of the Christian internet, because just because it wasn’t published yesterday, doesn’t mean it’s not relevant.

So I thought we’d kick off the new year with a two-for-one special featuring two short devotional articles from Feeding the Soul, starting first with the one I chose for the post title here today, and then a bonus reading.

Giving is the only antidote to greed.

Jesus says, in Matthew 6:24, No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. Jesus is making the point that our heart’s highest loyalty will be for only one thing. We can’t be equally devoted to two things; ultimately one will win out over the other.

If money is the most important thing to you (i.e., if you’re greedy), then you will serve your money more than you serve God. And you will find it very difficult to follow God’s instructions to give to others: If there is a poor man among your brothers … do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs (Deuteronomy 15:7-8).

If it’s true that no one can serve two masters, then the best way to fight against greed is to make sure that your master (your highest loyalty) is God—not money. Follow God above all else; that way your money will follow God, too.

John writes, If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (1 John 3:17). That sounds rather harsh at first, but it’s really no different than what Jesus said in Matthew 6:24. If you love your money more than God, then you’ll keep your money for yourself rather than giving it away to help others. The only way you’ll give generously to others is if you love God more than you love your money. So, how do you know if you love God more than money? By examining what you do with your money: Do you keep most of it, or give most of it?

If you want to fight against greed (that is, if you want to love God more than your money), then you’ll follow God’s instructions to give—give to the poor, give generously, give joyfully, give liberally, and give regularly. Giving is the best weapon against greed.

Bonus reading for today:

Faith is the ability to see God in the dark.

Have you ever felt that God isn’t with you? That when life became tough and darkened God abandoned you? Such a feeling is common to many Christians. However, you must not rely on feelings; instead, you must rely on faith, knowing that God is always there—you just may not always be able to see him in your circumstances. That’s why faith is so important.

Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. For example, if a family member dies, you may understandably question whether or not God could possibly be with you during such difficult times. However, by faith, you can be certain of what [you] do not see—certain that God was there watching over the whole situation.

Romans 4:19-21 describes how Abraham had faith even though it looked like God could never do what he said he would: Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

In his dark circumstances, Abraham could still see God—he had faith. That’s the same type of faith to which God is calling you.

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