A friend forwarded me the email with her own note attached: "You know you want it!" The email invited me to act quickly: a one-day, 75 percent off sale on a famous designer's purses. I scrolled through the email and despite the fact that I was not in the market for a purse that cost triple-digits, I found myself thinking . . . I do want that!
Greed is sneaky. Greed is insidious. Greed disguises itself in many forms. Greed tells us "you must have that," but also "you must grip tightly to that." Whether coveting something we don't have or holding tightly to what we do have, greed eventually transforms us into stingy people. Stingy causes us to live closed-off lives where we want to possess rather than steward, to hoard rather than give. When you see stingy, you know it. Stingy is ugly.
So how do we identify greed in our own lives and communities? How does God instruct us to understand and respond to greed? And how do we pry our heart's fingers off the things that seem so important and open our hands to the gifts God desires to give us (that don't come in the form of designer handbags?) Let's look at how we struggle with stingy—and how God wants to free us from it:
Can you name one person who readily admits to a problem with greed? We may admit to insecurity and worry and even anger, but it's the rare woman who can honestly assess her deep desires to own—to gather more possessions or power for herself. Perhaps you are already arguing internally about whether you are greedy or generous:1