Gratitude or Greed

December 31, 2012

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“One’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” -Luke 12:15

The Rich Fool of Jesus’ parable in Luke 12 could be a poster boy for the American Dream. He worked his land, earned a good living, and planned to enjoy the fruits of his labor. But he could also pass for what is too often the American Reality. Ruled by selfishness and greed, he ignored the One who created the land, the One who made it produce a harvest, and the One who numbered his very days.

Gratitude or Greed quote

Everything we have comes from God and belongs to God: life, family, money, resources, time, job, talents . . . everything. (John 3:27; 1 Cor. 4:7) We are stewards of what God has given us. He owns it; we use it.

In addition to the breath in our lungs and the food on our table, through the work of Jesus, God has given us forgiveness, righteousness, and eternal life: “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven.” (1 Peter 1:4)

All of this is much more than we deserve, and though many Christians would nod their head in agreement, few actually live as though that were true. Rather than cultivating humble appreciation, we covet a higher standard of living. Rather than gratitude for his grace, we exhibit greed for our own gain.

The difference between these two outlooks influences and directs every aspect of life:

Gratitude Greed
Attitude Humility (Phil. 2:3) Grumbling (Phil. 2:15)
Perspective Grace: “I am a sinner who de- serves death but Jesus paid the price and gave me his perfect righteousness.” Entitlement: “I am a good person who deserves heaven—plus a comfortable, pain-free existence in the meantime.”
Desire Jesus is enough to satisfy my life. Jesus is not enough. I want wealth / fame / comfort / power as well.
Money God gives. Therefore my money is his, and I use it to glorify him. I earn. Therefore my money is mine, and I use it howeverI please.
Possessions Content: I have enough Covetous: I never have enough
Church Serve as a member of God’s family Be served as a consumer
Job Work heartily for the Lord; cultivating thanks for God’s provision (Deut. 8:17; Col. 3:23) Work begrudgingly for the man; becoming bitter and jealous against others (James 3:16)
Family A blessing to embrace A burden to escape
Future Eternal: optimistic/hopeful (2 Cor. 4:7–9) Temporal: pessimistic/anxious
Worship Time, energy, and resources go to God Time, energy, and resources go to me
Identity Jesus and his achievement My abilities and my achievements
Giving Generous Guilt- or gain-motivated (or non-existent)

Which column most accurately describes your life? In which areas are you encouraged? Where do you need to repent and seek forgiveness?
This post was adapted from my book Money: God or GiftBuy it for $2.99 and read it on your Kindle, or on a free Kindle Reader application.