Is there a place under the sun which has been greedier than America? I believe that many Americans come the day of judgment will be judged not only for its immorality, which would make Sodom and Gomorrah blush, but also for its greed. What an amazing description of a people who fled to this land seeking religious freedom. Yet my main concern is not for this nation as much as for its citizens seeking citizenship in heaven.
Every where one turns the allurement of riches is thrown in our faces. When we turn on the TV we see in it games shows like:”Who wants to be a millionaire”. We go to the fill up our car, and are bombarded with lottery tickets that potentially can make us instantly rich. Political parties allures the saints of God with greed, and the promise of easy street, and easy money.
What is even more sad than this is that many preachers of the Lord’s church refuse to preach about greed anymore. Why? Because many of them are guilty of greed. What does the bible teach us about greed?
Solomon and Riches
No man on earth was richer than Solomon. Yet he wrote that we should not labor to be rich. Prov 23:4 Again he said, They that are eager to be rich shall not go unpunished. Prov 28:20 Solomon never worked or sought for riches. He prayed for wisdom, and because he prayed not for riches or long life, God granted unto him more riches than any man before or since.
Then God said to Solomon: “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life — but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king — wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.” 2 Chron 1:11-12
Solomon desired not to be rich or impoverished. He knew if he were rich he would forget God, and if he were poor he would steal. Prov 30:7-9 Needless to say, Solomon was weakened by years of wealth, luxury, and sensualism, and succumbed to the wiles of strange women, and began to worship idols in his later years. 1 Kin 11:4-13
The Warning of Riches
Jesus warned us all about riches. He said, “Woe unto you that are rich, for you have received your consolation. Lk 6:24 When Jesus told the story of the rich man and Lazarus, he warned us that riches, and greed will lead us to hell. Lk 16:19-31 Jesus said it twice that it was easier for a rich man to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Mt 19:23,24
James was even more determined to make it clear that we understand the evils of riches. He told us how the rich get to be rich, and what will happen to such.
”Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days.
Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.” Jam 5:1-6
To the rich ruler Jesus commanded him to sell all he had, give it to the poor, and to take up his cross and follow after him. Lk 18:18-25 And again he said it as plain and as concise as one can get, we can’t serve both God and money. Mt 16:24-26 It’s one or the other.
Riches in the Pulpit
The apostle Paul stated that the love of money is the root of ALL evil. What is forgotten is that Paul wrote this to, and about preachers. Paul saw riches as a hindrance to the gospel insomuch that he began to refuse to take money from the churches. 1 Cor 9:18
Paul said that many would come and peddle (sell) the word of God for profit, but that he was bound by constraints of God and Christ to speak the truth. 2 Cor 2:17
Peter said that false teachers because of greed will tell us lies. 2 Pet 2:1-3 Paul said that these false teachers will make argument, and debate over words. This he warned causes envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction. These men seek to be rich, and fall into temptations and snares, and many foolish and hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. Instead of seeking riches, preachers should be satisfied with godliness and contentment, because we can’t carry nothing out of the world when we die. 1 Tim 6:3-10
“Her heads judge for a bribe, Her priests teach for pay, And her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the Lord, and say, “Is not the Lord among us? No harm can come upon us.” Mic 3:11
Conclusion: This world is very deceptive with all the pitfalls of riches and lusts, but once we understand that the consolation for our wickedness is riches, then we can flee such temptations. Yes, we do need to make a living to provide for the needs of our family. 1 Tim 5:8 Yes, a preacher is worthy of his hire, and should live of the gospel. 1 Cor 9:14 However, he is to preach to gain souls, and not to preach to gain wealth. Jam 19,20 It is good to pray for good health, and for things to go well for us. 3 Jn 2 If the Lord blesses us, then such be the Lord’s will, but if not, suffer it to be so. 1 Jn 5:14 However, this doesn’t give us the excuse to seek, and labor for riches. If we desire to be rich, let us be rich in faith.
Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?James 2:5
If we must be greedy, let us be greedy to learn God’s Word. “Seek diligently to be approved of God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed…” 2 Tim 2:15 Instead of loving money, let us love the truth that we might be saved. 2 Thess 2:10
Let us never forget the needs of the poor saints who are in need of our assistance. Gal 6:10; 1 Cor 16:1,2 As Solomon warned: “He that oppresses the poor to increase his riches, and he that gives to the rich, shall surely come to want.” Prov 22:16 John said, “Anyone has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” 1 John 3:17
Let it never be once mentioned among the saints of God that we are greedy for filthy money. Tit. 1:11 Yes, rather knowing that all such things shall perish, let us seek first the Kingdom of heaven and His righteousness, and all such things as food, drink, and clothing will be added unto us. 2 Pet 3:11 f; Mt 6:28-33