Greed & Christmas

Posted on December 22, 2015 · Posted in Earthly Treasure

With Christmas presents comes Christmas squabbles. All of the challenging things your remember from last Christmas, but over the course of 364 days have somehow managed to forget, are back. Topics like:time of possession, present hoarding, and ownership disputes, once again take center stage.

Why?

Greed.

Ouch! Greed is a pretty strong word. Do we have to go there?

Actually, we do.

Sin is deceitful. Greed can masquerade as a desire for justice or fair play. But greed is when you want something for yourself without caring for someone else.

Luke tells of an encounter Jesus had with a greedy person. A man from the crowd asked Jesus to settle an inheritance dispute with his brother. Christ ignored the who, what, where, when of the situation and went straight to the heart. He tells this man that he is concerned about the wrong things. Life does not consist in the abundance of possessions. Here is the interchange as it is recorded in Luke:

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:13-15

It is possible to become sophisticated in the way we pursue greed, as was the case with the man in the narrative. But greed is still greed. Christ tells this man that the accumulation of things is not what life is about.

Giving gifts to your loved ones is a wonderful thing to do. But, we must not miss the warning Christ gives to this greedy man. Life does not consist in the abundance of things.

Whether your tree has many presents or just a few, greed is still a danger. Greed is something to guard against. I Corinthians 13:4-7 is the opposite of greed. Read it with your children regularly. If you are able to teach your children that life does not consist in the abundance of presents, you will have given them a precious gift. You will have rescued them from greed.

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.