Let’s talk about greed. Now, this may seem like a weird thing to talk about right before Christmas, but it is important because Jesus came because he was the opposite of greedy: he was generous. The reason we have Christmas is because of how generous God is. But Christmas is a little different now because we focus a lot on getting the presents we want, going back to school with the coolest gift, or spending the break doing only what we want to do. That sounds a bit greedy.
Jesus spoke a lot about greed and wanting money and stuff. He talked about this a lot because he knew that many people love their stuff and their money more than God. For example, one day Jesus explained the foolishness of greed. A man came up to Jesus and asked him to settle a dispute over inheritance money. But Jesus understood what the real problem was.
Luke 12:14-15 “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
Jesus saw something that this guy didn’t see in himself: Greed. Greed is an excessive desire for more of something that can never satisfy. This guy was ensnared by greed, which can happen to us if we aren’t careful.
Greed is seductive
Greed is enticing because it doesn’t really seem that bad. Who wouldn’t want more stuff? We all want the cool new phone, new clothes, a car or an Xbox One. Greed can feel good, but the Bible calls it a trap.
1 Timothy 6:9 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.
So what is it about greed that’s so bad? Why does Jesus warn against it?
Greed puts too much value in things that are temporary
After revealing the greed of the man, Jesus shares a parable. He talks about a wealthy man who is so successful in business that he just gains more and more wealth. He wonders what to do with all his good fortune. He decides just to invest in himself and give himself more. But there is a problem with this man’s thinking.
Luke 12:20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’”
The man put all his hope in his stuff, but the moment he died he lost everything that mattered to him. So, what should we learn from this warning?
Contentment with God defeats greed
It’s easy to rely on money for security or on our stuff for fulfillment. But if you’re hope is in money or stuff, it will never satisfy; you’ll always want more. God wants you to rely on him and his provision and he promises to give you what you need.
Hebrews 13:5 Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
God is worth far more than our money or our stuff. If you have a bigger view of God, you will have a greater sense of contentment. So remember that this Christmas season is not about you or the stuff you get out of it. It’s about God’s generosity, and how you can be generous too. That is how you defeat greed.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- What do you own that is your favorite thing? Why do you like it so much?
- What is something you want for Christmas? Why do you want it?
- Why is greed a problem? How have you seen examples of greed in your own life?
- Why might greed be harder to deal with as you get older?
- Read 1 Timothy 6:9. How do you know when you have become trapped by greed?
- Read Hebrews 13:5. According to the Bible, what is the solution to the problem of greed?
- What are some ways you can be generous this Christmas?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.
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