The Appetite of the Greedy is never Satisfied

Greed is the selfish desire for or pursuit of money , wealth , power , food , or other possessions , especially when this denies the same goods to others. It is generally considered a vice , and is one of the seven deadly sins in Catholicism .

"Those who have grown used to having others provide their food, shelter and other basics as ‘rights’ are by no means grateful. On the contrary, they are more angry, lawless and violent than in years past, whether they are lower-class whites rioting in Britain or black ‘flash mobs’ in America. Their histories are very different, but what they have in common is being supplied with a steady drumbeat of resentments against those who are better off. … Henry Ford benefited millions of other people by creating mass production methods that cut the cost of automobiles to a fraction of what they had been before — bringing cars for the first time within the budgets of people who were not rich. But the Ford Foundation has become a plaything of social experimenters who pay no price for creating programs that have been counterproductive or even socially disastrous. Nor was this the only foundation created by business philanthropy with a similar history and similar social results. Let business pioneers do what they do best. And let the rest of us exercise more judgment as to how much charity is beneficial and how much more simply perpetuates dependency, grievances and the polarization of society." –economist Thomas Sowell

What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from the cravings that are at war within you? You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires. James 4:1-3 (HCSB)

Pride makes us self-centered and leads us to conclude that we deserve all we can see, touch, or imagine. It creates greedy appetites for far more than we need. We can be released from our self-centered desires by humbling ourself before God, realizing that all we really need is his approval. When the Holy Spirit fills us, we see that this world’s seductive attractions are only cheap substitutes for what God has to offer. I know it is hard to imagine that a poor person is actually a proud person and probably an even bigger stretch to think of them as greedy, but their lack of contentment or gratitude for what God has provided is far too evident to ignore. Not all poor are discontent and not all are guilty of pride or covetousness, only those who continually cry out for more.

Greed denotes a desire to acquire wealth or possessions beyond the needs of the individual at the expense of someone else. Greed typically entails acquiring material possessions at the expense of other person’s welfare (for example, a father buying himself a new car rather than fix the roof of his family’s home) or otherwise reflect priorities. Another example is expecting your neighbor to provide for your family without any regard to the needs of that neighbor. Forcing your neighbors to provide for your upkeep is greed. This is not charitable and why it is condemned by scripture. Forcing your neighbor to be charitable is the antithesis of what Jesus taught about caring for one another. In a civil society most people are charitable and more than happy to help out others who have fallen on hard times. Hard times however do not usually continue for generations.

Greed is a form of idolatry , according to the Bible ( Colossians 3:5). While some have had difficulty understanding this connection, the most common explanation is that the greedy person values money or possessions more than God. This may also be connected with worship of the golden calf . Another understanding is that greed serves to bring as many things that the greedy person considers valuables to that person, making him the center of his efforts, the one he aims to please, converting him into his own god, and creating pride with great concentration on the ego. To a person who thinks this way they have an entitlement mentality whereby they feel that they deserve to be given special provisions. When they do not receive what they believe to be rightfully theirs they wage war on others demanding homage be paid to their perceived importance and need. They have elevated their wants and desires above those of their neighbors bringing instability to the civil society. Like the gospel of James teaches, the war is within yourself, the war that continually has you wanting for more and more. Contentment is a virtue, discontentment and greed is a sin and a vice.

When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But with wise and knowledgeable leaders, there is stability. (Proverbs 28:2 )

For a government or a society to endure, it needs wise, informed leaders—and these are hard to find. Each person’s selfishness quickly affects others. A selfish employee who steals from his company ruins its productivity. A selfish driver who drinks before taking the wheel makes the roads unsafe. A selfish spouse who has an adulterous affair often breaks up two families. When enough people live for themselves with little concern for how their actions affect others, the resulting moral rot contaminates the entire nation. Are you part of the problem . . . or the solution?

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