Crossroads: Greed


Luke 12:13-21

Your Story
Talk about a time when you were greedy. How did you feel when you realized that you were acting this way?

My Story and the Bible Story
As an only child for seven years, there have been times in my life when I wasn’t great at sharing. Even now, I want to make sure someone is going to take really good care of my stuff before I let them borrow anything. I didn’t like to share as a child because I was afraid that my stuff would get broken. But eventually, I outgrew all of my toys. They were still in great condition, but I no longer wanted to play with them. Instead of giving my friends a chance to play with them, there were times when I kept my toys to myself, out of fear that something would happen to them. I still have some of my old Barbies, but all they do is collect dust. Instead of being played with by other children, they are sitting in my grandmother’s attic, just waiting.

Greed is part of us because we are human. It’s hard not to want to keep our stuff. But here’s how Jesus talks about greed. In Luke 12:13-21, Jesus has this to say: Someone out of the crowd said, ‘Teacher, order my brother to give me a fair share of the family inheritance.’ He replied, ‘Mister, what makes you think it’s any of my business to be a judge and mediator for you?’ Speaking to the people, he went on, ‘Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.’ Then he told them this story: ‘The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: ‘What can I do? My barn isn’t big enough for this harvest.’ Then he said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll gather in all my grains and goods, and I’ll say to myself, Self, you’ve done well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!’ ‘Just then God showed up and said, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods—who gets it?’’ ‘That’s what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God.’

Jesus points out that it does us no good to store up everything we have, because eventually, we will be gone from this world and we don’t get to take our stuff with us. The Egyptians used to bury tons of gold, treasures, animals, and even people with their leaders when they died. And thousands of years later, archaeologists found those treasures, still intact, in their tombs. That gold didn’t do those leaders any good. Instead of being used to help the people, it was left to get dusty in those tombs. We cannot take our stuff with us. Jesus calls us to use the things we have been given to help others.

Part of being greedy is thinking that you deserve the stuff you have, that you’ve earned the stuff you have, and that other people need to earn their things too. While this is what our culture says, it isn’t what Jesus says. Instead, Jesus calls us to have compassion on others. Here’s the thing: yes, you may have earned the stuff you have, but none of us have earned God’s grace and love. We could never do enough to earn that. God gives it to us freely because we could not earn that. God wants us to show His love to others too, which means sharing what we have with those who don’t have enough. It means doing the unexpected and being generous when others are storing everything they have like this rich man in this story. It’s hard not to be greedy, but Jesus reminds us that “life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.” Instead, life is defined by how much we show God’s love to others and how we show others who Jesus is. We cannot show God’s love if we aren’t willing to be generous the way God is generous.

Discussion and Action
• As a family, talk about why it’s sometimes hard to share with others. Ask your kids for reasons why they sometimes don’t like to share.
• Brainstorm ideas for ways each of you can be more generous. Ask your kids what ideas they have as well.
• Pick a few of these ideas and implement them this week. Find ways to be more generous as a family.

Thank God that He is never greedy, but that He lovingly gives us grace even when we mess up. Ask Him for help in being more generous and less greedy.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email