Greed: Is It Good?

Are you among the deprived having to live without what advertisers tell us are the bare necessities of life: a car that is more than two years old without high tech sensors plus a camera, heated seats and Sirius radio, a 4G smart phone, a 3D Plasma TV, a Super Micro Computer, and an assortment of techno-gadgets?

These staples of life are depicted as basic to life for the average citizen. They can’t live today without certain items even if it is necessary to indenture tomorrow beyond reason.

Remember a formerly popular mantra: “Greed is good.” It was once called avarice, but now greed. It is an inordinate desire to gain and hoard wealth or material things. It is even broader than that narrow definition. It includes a desire to possess, control, and dominate.

There was a cartoon depicting a little man standing at the base of a ladder looking up repeating, “I want. I want.” He is a clone of many today. Food, clothing, and shelter are basics. Even with them moderation is expedient.

A generation has been reared to live beyond ones means in order to try to find meaning and fulfilment for life.

One study shows greed is not primarily a desire for money, but for the things money can get, such as, acceptance, power, influence, popularity, prestige, and clout.

We are material creatures and live in a material world. Therefore, it is apparent things aren’t bad, they are neutral. They were placed here to be our servant. It is our attitude toward them that makes many people their servants.

The inability to feed greed has increased as our economy has decreased. The disparity between our desires and resources has increased discontent among many.

It has been said we are rich in relation to the number of things we can do without. Conversely, we are poor according to the number of things we consider essential to function. The operative word is “contentment.”

Reputedly a Baptist moved in next door to a Quaker and the Quaker visited the Baptist and said, “If thou needest anything ask me, and I will tell thee how to do without it.”

Greed is a merciless master, a tyrannical taskmaster.

Patience, temperance, and self-discipline are essential to finding the desired state of being more elusive than a butterfly. That state is contentment. Many in our society, and the society of many cultures, have been led to believe “things” afford contentment. NO! Write it across the horizon of your mind from heaven to earth — no they don’t. Our attitude regarding them does.

Consider these words of a sage who had position, prominence, power, and possessions, but not contentment until . . . .

“We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and have pierced themselves through with may sorrows.”

Then, he nailed it, “Now, godliness with contentment is great gain.”

It was the Apostle Paul who recorded that profound insight in I Timothy 6: 6-10.

This is not an anti-wealth article for it is “God who gives us the ability to get wealth.” This is an encouragement to find the contentment that comes from the right attitude and use of money.