Greed in the Day of Need
The Bible is always right about us. Men deny the total depravity of humanity, until there is a crisis. Then, the sins of men are exposed. The darkened heart is confronted by the light of God’s Law. A man is comparable only to the Light of the world — the only One who kept the Law of God, perfectly…Jesus Christ (Jn 8:12). How do we measure up?
The people of Laish lived, “in a place where there was no lack of anything that is on the earth (Judges 18:10c). They were, “a secure people in a spacious land (Judges 18:10b).” These people, “lived in security after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure, for there was no ruler humiliating them for anything in the land, and they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone (Jdg 18:7).”
This, of course, is what everyone wants — a life of ease and no worries. It is what the false prosperity preachers promise fools. This is the antithesis of what Jesus promised those who follow Him, “In the world, you will have trouble (Jn 16:33).” The life of ease is the spirit of Antichrist, who wishes to bring heaven down upon the earth, so that the devil might be god and king.
Trouble in the world keeps us sober to the truth of our vaporous existence and the judgment to come. The systems of man will and do fail. Crises come along, providentially, to remind us of man’s imperfection in this fallen world. At times, we suffer loss, and these times teach us to be diligent and vigilant.
Nabal was a very rich man, who lived at ease, at the expense of others, who labored and protected him and his wealth (1 Sam 25). In the season when his sheep were to be sheared, young David sent some of his men to seek the benevolence of the rich man, who they protected. In his greed, Nabal turned David’s men away with nothing.
Greed is idolatry (Col 3:5). It is the desire for more of the stuff of the world. It is a lack of being content with what one has in his possession (Heb 13:5). God’s Word tells us to be content with food and covering (1 Tim 6:8), along with whatever circumstances we are faced with (Phil 4:11).
Keeping our eyes on Jesus and seeking first the kingdom of God causes us to be generous with the stuff of the world. We give, expecting nothing in return. Sharing all good things with others strengthens our relationships with them, so that in the day of trouble, there is an alliance of help and welfare. Do you see your brother in need? How do you say you love him, if you close your heart to him (1 Jn 3:17).
The generous are never lacking something to give. Ironically, it is the stingy who are ever in want. We are meant to see this irony that we might learn Christ. God gave us His only begotten Son (Jn 3:16). The Son of God lived among us and gave Himself for us (Rom 5:8; Eph 5:2). It was God the Father and God the Son who gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:26; 15:26; Gal 4:6), who was poured out in our hearts that we might know the love of God (1 Jn 4:19).
Knowing the truth about love, we give the glorious riches of God’s grace to others, when we deny ourselves and share what we have. This is how the world knows us — by our love for one another. That love for one another is then extended to our neighbors, when we demonstrate what is most valuable to us.
By giving our time, talents, and treasure to the poor, we can say along with Peter and John, “Silver and gold I have none, but what I do have I give to you (Acts 3).” The vaccine for greed is generosity. First, we give what has little value to the kingdom of God — money and material possessions. This gets the attention of world-lings because it is what they value most. When they ask about the hope within us, especially, during times of great fear, we are able to share our prized possession…the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is not as if we are not telling others all the time, but in seasons of fear and need, our material giving serves to minister in an extra special way. If we have two rolls of toilet paper and see our neighbor with none (Remember A.D. 2020?), we should give to him, so that our relationship might be bound in love, in even more difficult times.
The Danites came to sleepy Laish and destroyed the inhabitants, who received no help on the day of trouble because they gave nothing to anyone, during the day of peace and plenty. Nabal’s wife, Abigail, appeased the wrath of David with humility and gifts, before the day of slaughter. Later, in God’s providence, she would enter David’s abundant household as his wife.
Giving away our stuff in the day of peace, and into the day of want, will ease the tension in our communities. It will eradicate the contagions of fear and greed. It will make us look more like Jesus, who was loved by the poor and needy because He fed them and healed their sick.
May God forgive us for the sin of greedy hoarding in the day of need, and may He open our hearts to give like Jesus did and continues to do.
Spokane Valley, Washington
November 19, 2022