From the Word:
“Each one should give as you have decided in your heart to give. You should not be sad when you give, and you should not give because you feel forced to give. God loves the person who gives happily.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NCV)
When was the last time you thought about greed? I confess to you, I haven’t thought about it or considered it one way or another for a very long time. And, I’d be the first to raise my hand and say, “I am not a greedy person.” But guess what? I’d be lying if I said that. Have you ever seen me eat? But that’s a topic for another day…maybe.
Consider the following gleaned from a devo written by Mary Southerland on this very topic:
“We make a living by what we get out of life, but we make a life by what we give…and how we give it. I am convinced God loves to see us give for no other reason than the joy of giving.” *
Mary went on to write about a moment one Christmas when she and her boys had the thrill of joyfully blessing friends who were on hard times and wouldn’t likely be able to afford something they really wanted. To this day, they carry the joy received from giving that particular Christmas.
After sharing the story she continued on the topic of greed:
Greed doesn’t hold a candle to joyful giving.
Greed is never satisfied and never at rest. There is always something more to be gained and someone else to outdo.
Greed promotes motives that are self-serving, not God-honoring.
Greed loves a prideful heart. Oh yes, I am familiar with this one. My pride is at stake, so I give to impress others. People are watching, so I give to gain their approval.
Greed cooks up a batch of fear and guilt, spreads it across our lives, and we give, hoping to buy God’s forgiveness from our sin. How foolish! That gift has already been given. *
God is much more interested in our motive for giving than in the gift itself. If that motive is tainted with greed of any kind, the gift simply does not count. This year, before you give, ask yourself, “What’s in it for me?” If the answer is “nothing,” then go ahead and give the gift.
Be a joyful giver.
Dear sisters, I’m sure most of you are givers, especially at Christmas. My question for you today is, what about the rest of the year? When you consider the above statements on greed, do you see yourself reflected there?
I have to confess: as soon as I read them there were specific things that quickly surfaced in my mind. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for never growing weary of teaching and counseling.