How Greed Hurts individuals and America

What is one thing greatly eviscerating our society. Here is a hint. It is a spiritual problem succinctly identified long ago. Here is another hint. It is sometimes called a green eyed monster. It is greed. The laconic historical depiction is, “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

Individually and as a society we are victims of the “more is better, but more is never good enough” syndrome. Untethered greed is the cause of corporate scandals, crooked politicians, classroom cheating, sexual indiscretion, impropriety in the faith community, and personal conflicts. With it so well defined not even the faith community is immuned. Not only are individuals guilty of it, but so are institutions and governments. Councils, conference rooms, and courtrooms are crowded by persons wanting more.

Often conflicts could be avoided if disputing parties were to lay aside greed and negotiate in good faith.
The following solution has been proposed. “The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.”

That is not a reference to Rome, Georgia. It was written of ancient Rome by Cicero in 55 B.C. Some things are constant.

There are a few words that describe how we got in our current quandary. Some are: greed racheted up to rapacity and avarice, a lack of integrity and eroded honesty, covetousness, gluttony, voracity, and a colloquialism, “the gimmies.”

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.

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 many 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.