From greed to generosity
The experience of Britain in the early 1940’s demonstrated again and again how an unexploded bomb (UXB) in an oil refinery, a railway yard, or a factory could create wider chaos in the transport links. It would disrupt the network of communications – railways especially – and significantly impacted alternative supply chains. Blocking access to a port on the English Channel, through a bomb on the rail access routes, created a 1940’s version of the Operation Stack; in place of the lorry queue for the Channel Tunnel it was scores of freight trains bunched in other places, presenting new and attractive targets for the Luftwaffe.
Sin in one area of our life inevitably affects other parts of our lives: financial decisions impact our family, our speech shapes our relationships with friends and colleagues, our thought life drives how we use our time and underpins our prayer life.
Sin doesn’t exist in tidy little compartments, like silos of badness remote from the rest of us or others.
When we think of the deadly sin of greed, we tend to think of our finances (the bank balance, stock portfolio, bonuses) or our possessions (the car, house, clothes or gadgets). But what if greed doesn’t just have cash value but impacts on the rest of our life too? What if our security is subtly shifting from God to wealth?
Greed is a desire which is never satisfied unless it is put to death (Col. 3:5). It has a deadly capability (they aren’t called deadly sins as a marketing ploy, it’s a label that fits). It can keep us out of God’s kingdom (Eph. 5:5). So some bomb disposal of our character may be needed.
The good news is that for each sin that grows as a destructive desire, there is the remedy which truly satisfies, the complete satisfaction of Jesus and what we find in him. When we give our attention to how he is revealed in the Bible, time and again he is the one who truly lasts, brings deep joy, and fills our needs abundantly. He cannot wear out or be spent, he is our true treasure.
If we set our minds on Jesus, our security in him loosens our grip on earthly treasures. We don’t just become less greedy, we become like our heavenly Father – we become more generous.
In April 2019, Lei Jun, founder of Chinese IT firm Xiaomi, received a personal bonus of £735 million. What would you do with that amount of money? Most of us will never need to consider that kind of question. Spike Milligan once quipped, “Money can’t buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.”
We know (intellectually) that money is not the root of all happiness, and may believe the apostle’s words that the loveof money is the root of all kinds of evil, but we live in a world where the desire for more seems ever-present.
Greed robs us of our security in God, makes us increasingly indifferent to the needs of others and the poor especially. Greed hinders our joy. God would want us free from greed and growing in generosity. As the One who gave his only Son for us, he knows how transforming this can be. What would a generous spirit look like in practice for you?
Bomb Disposal is Available on Amazon