This week we put into the mail a financial gift for the National Alliance on Mental Health in Cincinnati. In December, our White Oak family stepped into a space to meet the physical, emotional, and psychological needs of our neighbors. Just like Jesus, you helped make a God-shaped impression on families who are struggling. Jesus met physical needs because he loves people. He met physical needs because his healing served as a forerunner for our need to be forgiven of our sin. We were sin-sick, and Jesus saved us.
I am so honored to serve beside a church family who steps up so generously. Generosity is a beautiful thing when God’s people take deeper steps of trust in Him and give back to him portions of what he’s provided to us. Generosity, though, has an enemy. That enemy is greed.
13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” -Luke 12:13-14
Jesus warns, “Watch out!... Be on your guard…” According to Jesus, there are all kinds of greed and greed is sneaky. Greed isn’t obvious. It has a way of creeping up on you and taking you down without you even being aware of it. I notice that Jesus doesn’t use this sort of warning with other kinds of sin. I don’t find Jesus saying, “Watch out for adultery, it’ll take you when you least expect it.” Jesus certainly speaks against adultery, just not in this same way. Why? Perhaps because not every kind of sin is so sneaky. If we’re committing adultery, we’re probably aware of it. Sexual sin is alluring, but the signs of it are more obvious. But no one ever thinks they’re greedy. As a pastor, I’ve heard many people share their struggles and sin issues with me, but I’ve never ever had anyone confess to me that they believe they are greedy. Why? Because it creeps up on us in ways we’d don’t recognize.
When we store up a stockpile leaning on wealth to secure us later in life.
When we claim not to be able to afford to help the poor.
If you’ve ever given to God what is left over rather than what is our first and best, greed is laying its groundwork in your life.
If we find ourselves concerned or worried about finances often, greed may be sneaking in on our hearts.
Greed doesn’t look ugly. It masquerades as being responsible, smart with money, or living as we deserve. That’s why Jesus warns us about the love of money more than he warns us of any other sin problem. The question I’ve been challenged to ask myself this week is this: Am I greedy? Honestly, I haven’t come up with an answer. I need to pray about it. I need to seek God in this area of my life. If you had asked me this question a week ago, I would have answered with an emphatic, “No.” But I’m not as convinced today.
The root cause of greed is a lack of trust in God. Jesus begins to address this root issue in Luke12:22. Our lack of trust in God to provide for us all that we need opens our hearts up for the sneak attack of greed. I want to ask my White Oak family to seek God, today, in this matter. Jesus words strike me in that I must admit that I am either growing in trust in my Heavenly Father or I am growing a greedy heart. There is no happy middle ground.
Generosity is a core value at White Oak. Let’s seek a deeper trust in God this year. Let’s ask ourselves the probing question and trust the Holy Spirit to do his work on our hearts. That he would open our eyes to greed, protect us from its attacks, and increase our generosity as a result of his unfathomably goodness.
Seeking deeper trust,
Lead Pastor, White Oak Christian Church