CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

March 10, 2011

Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Greed #1: Greed or Generosity


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

LENTEN STUDY: 7 DEADLY SINS

GREED #1: GREED OR GENEROSITY

MONTE W. HOLLAND

INTRODUCTION

     The following study is a journey through Lent, the forty-day pre-Easter season (which excludes Sundays).  Easter’s date, determined by the time of the first full moon after the Spring equinox, is very late this year.

     Traditionally, many Christians use Lent for self-examination and a renewal of their commitment to their faith.

     This year I  chose to do a devotional study on aspects of the Seven Deadly Sins, sins identified by very early Christians as key behaviors separating man from God and God’s will. The seven sins are not listed together in the Bible—each is, however, spoken about in various Scripture sites.

THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS:

GREED, ENVY, ANGER, LUST, GLUTTONY, SLOTH and PRIDE.

THE ASPECTS OF THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS ARE:

#1 Breaking the Mosaic Law

#2 Defying God or rebelling against God

#3 Acts of violence to others

#4 Failing to make proper sacrifices or worship

#5 Not living up to or reflecting God’s glory (not living as one created in God’s image)

 

 

GREED #1:

GREED OR GENEROSITY

SCRIPTURE:  You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s. (Exodus 20:17)

DEVOTION: Greed is about accumulating. The dictionary definition is: selfish and grasping desire for possession, especially of wealth; avarice; covetousness. The last synonym, covetousness, leads us directly to our key verse, the tenth of the Ten Commandments.

     We all have a natural tendency to accumulate. I expect I’m worse than many, considering my Great Depression roots. Those of us from that era are concerned with saving for a rainy day. Unfortunately, the boundary between adequate preparation for hard times and excessive accumulation is narrow and easily crossed.

     I’ve yet to be able to follow the if you haven’t used it in a year,  you don’t need to keep it rule. It isn’t just financial records for the IRS that I keep beyond the seven year requirement—it’s other things too.

      Excessive accumulation is one aspect of greed that we don’t do well with—witness the growth of the storage shed industry.

     A second aspect of the unending pursuit of possessions is the limit of resources. Usually, accumulating comes at the expense of my neighbor. Notice that the Tenth Commandment makes note of this, by spelling out covetousness as being at our neighbor’s expense. For many things it comes down to If I have more, it means some neighbor will have less. We may justify ourselves by thinking that our neighbor didn’t really need it. But the better question is: Do I really need it? I dare say that very often our answer will be: Not really!

     Martin Luther King, in his I Have Been to the Mountaintop speech, examines the Good Samaritan parable, contrasting the three travelers in this way: the first two may have been most concerned for their safety and their future, and not the well-being of the injured man; the third was most concerned for the future of the injured man, even if it put his own future at risk.

     The contrast we have is between greed and generosity—between obsession with our present and future and our concern for the future of all people.

PRAYER:  Gracious God, it is natural to accumulate. I want more. I even try to convince myself that I deserve more. Give me a renewed generosity and concern for the future of all. Amen.

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To read the previous devotion, click on: Ash Wednesday: Intro to Lenten Study on the Seven Deadly Sins

To read the following devotion, click on: Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Envy #1: Envy or Love

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Don’t miss Monte’s Lenten Devotions on

THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS

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ADDITIONAL READING:

Are We Computer Addicted? A 1997 Prediction

To Reclaim a Family Farm—Or Not

February’s Prelude to Spring

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