I am naturally a driven, and ambitious person. I have something in me that likes to conquer mountains, and achieve. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but there have been times in my life when I have struggled with the desire for more achievement, and more things for my own namesake. That’s not a good thing when you desire to live a kingdom first life. It creates an inner struggle. I’ve made bad choices, and contradictory decisions because of it. This life isn’t about my own name, it’s about His name.
The unchecked desire for more things for ourselves turns into a lust for more. There is a word for that, and that word is greed. There are several Greek words in the New Testament for greed, and when you put them all together they describe someone who becomes willing to trample on other people in order to pursue their lust for more things.
This is obviously not the kind of people that we want to become, yet I have a theory that the majority of people would say that they do not have any issues with greed, or we will even say covetousness. Let me explain why I have this theory.
First of all let me present the limiting factor to what I am about to say. I have only been a pastor for about 5 years, and at this particular point in time I probably have more influence in my place of employment than I do in our church campuses. With that being said, over a 5 year period in the church, and at work ( I teach at a small college for those of you who do not know) I have had numerous people come to me and tell me they have some type of struggle that they would like pray or direction for. People have told me they struggle with anger, depression, loneliness, lust, pornography, anxiety, lack of faith, lack of belief, and just about every other thing you can think of; however, there is one thing no one has ever told me they struggle with and that is greed.
Why is that? It’s not shame if we are willing to admit anything else. We all struggle with a number of things, so why won’t we say it if we struggle with greed. Could it be because we really don’t think we a have a problem with it? Could it be that we learn to live life with an agenda to pursue more, and that it is normal, and moral. Could it be that our preconceived perspectives were formed in such a way that some of the things we do are not thought to be trampling on others?
I was born in America, I am already privileged. I already have more, yet I have wanted even more. How much more do I need? Is my house big enough, or does it need to be bigger? Some people don’t have a house. Is my car nice enough, or do I need a newer one? Some people will never have a car. Do I make enough money, or do I need to make so much that I can rent a mansion for $400,000 per month like some other people do?
The things are not the problem. They are amoral. This is not an attack against things. It’s not bad to have things, success, or any of that. It’s a good thing. However, our heart and attitudes towards those things can be a problem. This is a challenge to look inward and do an assessment. Internal growth with fruit as evidence, is better than external growth. External things are temporary, but if you are saved then you are eternal. You are not trying to be eternal, you are not going to be eternal when you die, you are already eternal right now. Your body may not be, but you are.
If I do a self check, do I want more in order to build my name, or I do I want to build His name? Do I want more people to know Levi, or do I want more people to know Jesus? Do I want to win more people to my side, or do I want to win more people to His side?
Pride combined with greed is a very deceptive, and a very dangerous thing. A kingdom son combined with stewardship is a very powerful thing. It’s all His, but if I am being truly honest there have been times when I have tried to make it mine.
Sometimes it’s hard to look inside, especially when we don’t like what we see. Sometimes it’s hard to admit, and sometimes it’s hard to change. However, Jesus said follow me and I will make you. If you keep following Jesus, and keep putting His kingdom first He will make it right in you!
God is for you, and I am for you!