Really we, as individuals, typically struggle with the same two issues. Either we are greedy and don’t give anything to anyone or we spend so much of our money on non-spiritual things that we have nothing leftover to give.
So what are some questions to ask yourself that may help you determine if you are greedy or not? Here are just a few:
- Do you help other people who have needs or are you always the recipient?
- If someone asks you to borrow money (and you have it), are you quick to tell them no because you know they won’t pay you back?
- Do you get upset, jealous, or judgmental when you see other people succeeding financially?
- Do others regularly joke about your stinginess or “extreme frugality?”
- Are you a republican? Ha. Just kidding - I couldn’t resist that one.
If those apply to you, then you may be a greedy Gus as my first grade teacher liked to say. And if you are a greedy Gus…that’s not good. It’s actually really, really bad.
People often say that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of loose sexual morals but that was not the whole story. In Ezekiel 16:49 you can see that the sin of Sodom was much different than what we always hear. “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.”
In Luke 12, there is a story that specifically talks about a man who was rich who just kept building more and more barns so that he could store all of his goods. He told himself that if he stored them up, he could take it easy in the future and just eat, drink, and live the good life. But God had different words for him. He basically said, “You fool. Tonight you can die and then who will get all of your stuff?” Then God tells us that the person who stores up money for himself is not rich towards God.
Now on the other hand, if you find that you spend $100 a month on movies, video games, shoes, stuff for the kids sports (or your own), or on Starbucks but yet when the collection plate at church is being passed around you throw in a ten dollar bill, your priorities may also be misplaced.
In the Old Testament the law required that each person give 1/10th of their possessions and money right off of the top. Today we aren’t bound to the idea of tithing, we are supposed to give from our hearts. That is not a loophole to permit us to give less. If we find that we don’t give much, then maybe our hearts aren’t where they should be. How much better is the covenant we have with God now than it was back then? It seems to me that a tenth would be the least we could give.
We love to point to the story about the widow who impressed Jesus by giving just a few cents. We quote this story to show that as long as we are giving cheerfully, God is pleased with our offering. But we get nervous and start dancing around the issue when it’s brought up that the New Testament church sold all of their stuff and had community money that was shared among everyone.
I hate to be preachy (I know that surprises some of you) but all I’m saying is that I don’t want to stand before God on judgment day and have him ask me why there were people in my spiritual family who suffered while I had money that wasn’t being used. I don’t want to have to try and explain why I was able to take three vacations a year while people in my community had malnourished children. And I definitely don’t want to have to explain why it was that when it came to my money, what He wanted was just not my first priority.
So what does this all have to do with worry? Well I hope to get into that next week with the last one on this subject that I’ve been thinking about…contentment.
So until then, find someone who needs help and help them. Give to your church. And vote democrat. (Aaaand queue the hate mail). Ha.