April 7, 2011

Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Greed #4: What Profit Do You Seek?






     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.





#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)



SCRIPTURE:  17 Warn the rich people of this world not to be proud or to trust in wealth that is easily lost. Tell them to have faith in God, who is rich and blesses us with everything we need to enjoy life. 18 Instruct them to do as many good deeds as they can and to help everyone. Remind the rich to be generous and share what they have. 19 This will lay a solid foundation for the future, so they will know what true life is like. (1 Timothy 6:17-19 (CEV))

31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men. 34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:31-38 (KJV))

 DEVOTION: Profit!

     We all have a profit motive. Before entering into a new venture, we often ask How much profit will there be in this for me? The answer often comes back: You have to take a risk if you want to make money. There is no guarantee of profit.

     I don’t like to take too many chances. And yet the economy is in the shape it is in because too many people took dangerous chances—to get rich. Paul has a totally different outlook when speaking about rich people (and basically we are them) who have plenty on their tables. He reminds them to have faith, do as many good deeds as you can, and help everyone. And he goes on to tell them to be generous and share what they have. Paul also tells them why: these good deeds are

a foundation for the future and teach us what true life is like.

     Richness and profit are not just pocketbook issues. When they become restricted to money and material goods, we become threatened by greed. When we see richness in life as a whole, we become spiritually uplifted and enveloped by generosity. Which would you rather receive—a $100 bill or a meaningful compliment? Unless I have some immediately pressing bill that I can’t pay, I would go for the compliment. I feel really good when someone makes a positive comment about the roads I help maintain in Laurel Mountain Borough (Pennsylvania). Knowing that I am doing something meaningful to improve the lives of others is so much more important than a few extra dollars in my pocket.

     My image of God is that he is generous. Look how much he provides for us each day. We need to remind ourselves that we are created in God’s image and that to be like God is to be generous to all around us. Greed tries to convince us otherwise and no wonder it makes the list of seven sins to struggle against.

PRAYER:  Generous God, nurture us toward greater generosity. Remind us to heed the warnings to the rich, as people who are truly blessed. We would reflect your image in our living more and more each day. Amen.


To read the previous devotion, Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Sloth #4: Are We Sowing Seeds?, click on:

To read the following devotion, click on: Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Envy #4: More Themes From a Scattered Garden



Have I, a Caregiver, Failed??

Lions Still Guard Majestic Buildings

When Children’s Service Agencies Won’t Respond to Complaints

Fear of Death? Or Fear of the Way of Death?

Who Am I?


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