Greed: The “Acceptable” Sin


As Christians, we know that all sin is equal in God’s sight.  There ae none that aren’t as bad as other sins.  We know that, but we sometimes don’t practice it.  Without meaning to, we seem to overlook some sins and focus on others.  We sometimes focus on morality (which we should) but neglect gluttony (which we shouldn’t).  There are other examples I could give, such as obeying speed limits or taking supplies home from the office, but I think you get the idea.  There is one more neglected sin I’d like to focus on in this blog – greed.

When we were first married we were quite poor, needing all we earned to cover living expenses. But as the years have passed and God has blessed us financially, we have been able to accumulate savings.  With extra money has come extra decisions.  How much of this extra money can we use for things we “want” but don’t necessarily “need”?  How much are we to use for the poor, for the church or for missionaries?  And what about Christians in other in other countries who live in poverty while I have more than I need?  I can’t say what God wants you to do, for there is no one answer.  Each one must be sensitive to how God leads them, for God’s will is different for each of us.

What I do want to address is the attitude behind what we have and our motive to keep more for ourselves.  If we have an excessive desire to acquire and keep things, that is greet.  Things become of too much importance, more than God Himself.  We use them for pleasure, security, status, power or many other things.

Greed is an attitude to things, no matter the amount.  Rich people can be free from greed while poverty-level people can be very greedy.  Amount has nothing to do with it.  But sometimes a greater amount of money can tempt one to greed.  When God gives us more than we need for the purpose of passing it on to others and we spend it on ourself instead, that is greed, and it is sin.

We see several examples of this in the Bible.  Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) sold land and gave part of the money to the church, keeping the rest for themselves.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  But they said they gave everything when they didn’t.  As a result of their greed and attempt at coverup God struck them both dead.

Gehazi deceived Naaman (2 Kings 5) into giving him clothes and riches he said were for Elisha but were really for himself.  Because of this God struck him with leprosy.  Achan (Joshua 7) secretly kept riches and possessions from Jericho when God said to destroy it all.  As a results 30 Jews died in battle and he and his family were put to death.  These 3 examples show God takes greed and disobedience very seriously!

In our culture, the accumulation of wealth is applauded.  The American dream says anyone can become rich.  Advertisement tells us we always need more.  Many children, from little on up, are taught to be greedy by the number of possessions they are given and the provision of all they want.  We evaluate each other by the quantity and quality of stuff we have: car, house, clothes, jewelry, electronic toys, etc.   Christmas and birthdays can be displays of materialism by focusing on what we give or get.  Things that are to serve us instead become the masters and we serve them.  They become idols (1 John 5:21).

There is nothing evil with money, just the LOVE of money (1 Timothy 6:10).  Poverty does not make one more spiritual, neither do riches.  When I first came to the church I pastored for 35 years until retiring, the head elder once said something I’ve never forgotten: “God doesn’t look at how much you give but how much you keep.”  That has convicted me ever since, as well it should.

So how much should you keep?  How much should you give?  How much can you spend on yourself for “wants” that aren’t “needs”?  I can’t give you an answer, but I can warn you to make sure greed doesn’t influence your decision.  Be open to hear what God says and willing to do whatever He wants.  He gives us more than we need so we can be good stewards and pass some of it on to other people and causes that He wants to bless through us.  There is real joy in giving, if we don’t let our natural inclination to greed get in the way!  (And, by the way, if you are looking for a worthy ministry to give to, consider CTO and our ministry to the pastors in India, Africa and South America.) (April 1, 2024  Doylestown, PA)

Ecclesiastes 5:10  Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. 

Thanks God for all the material blessings He has given you, and for a country where so much is available.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you struggle with greed?

If God is convicting you, confess your greed and ask Him to show you what steps to overcome it.


Christian Training Organization

(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)

Copyright © 2024

Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View) Copyright ©1995-2024