The Joy of Contentment vs The Curse of Unrestrained Greed

Sam Petitfils

"The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the Lord will prosper."  Proverbs 28:25

The term for “greedy” here means a person with an “unrestrained appetite.”  Because his appetite is so great, he pushes hard to gobble up everything in his path and other people, too.  If someone stands in his way, he is expendable and can be discarded.  It’s not hard to see why conflicts and dissensions follow such people wherever they go.  They want advancement, seek to be enriched, and long to “get ahead”, even if it means causing much trouble to all in their path.  Such people eventually fall under the weight of their own desires, but ruin many lives along the way.

Contrast this with the content person in the verse above.  He prospers.  This person is content with God’s portion, and God blesses what he has.  In fact, God often entrusts this person with more.  The godly person cares more for following the shepherd and doing what he says.  He is assured of God's care (Matthew 6:25-34) and, therefore, does not fret or worry about days to come (Proverbs 31:25).  He seeks to bless others and treat them well, not considering others as stepping stones to the next level up.  Count this person blessed!

The Apostle Paul provided his young protégé Timothy some valuable words on how to view material goods.  In 1 Timothy 6, he, too, warns about greedy people causing strife (verses 3-5).  There in Ephesus, where Timothy served, he had to deal with greedy charlatans who ran over others in pursuit of material wealth.  Paul reminds Timothy that “godliness with contentment is great gain” (verse 6).  Those who crave wealth deceive themselves and even “fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction” (verse 9).  He finally warns Timothy to “flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (verse 11).

What about wealthy Christians?  God does sometimes bless His people with material substance, and some more than others.  In 1 Timothy 6, Paul commands such people “not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth…but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (verse 17). Moreover, they should “be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share” (verse 18).

In the final analysis, we can either trust in God to provide our needs, or destroy people in our way to a life of wealth and ease, one that can never bring true happiness.  Just remember that only God can give us peace in our hearts, and only He can provide us with what we truly need.

 

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