Text: Proverbs 15:27
“He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.” (Proverbs 15:27)

The people of the world are fixated on material things. However, the pursuit of these things is ultimately futile, for they will corrupt and fade away. We bring nothing into this world, and there is nothing we can take away from it (c.f. Job 1:21).

Sadly, many Christians are taken in by the rat race and covet after “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” (c.f. 1 John 2:16) They set for themselves worldly goals and are relentless in their drive for them. Their hearts are set on gain and trade and their eyes are focused on the world and not heaven.

The Bible warns us here that a man who is greedy of gain will surely find trouble. Firstly, this avarice will lead him further away from God and His Word. He will lose the experience of joy and peace in the Lord. Instead of pursing after sweet fellowship with Christ, he now becomes deeply infatuated with obtaining the object of his desire. This object soon becomes his idol, and he may even resort to foul means to obtain it.

In a materialistic society like Singapore, we must be careful to guard ourselves from the love of money, which is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10a). Never ever change jobs because of the greed of gain. It will wreak havoc to your spiritual life. “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matt. 6:24) You will eventually sell yourself to money. Why err from the faith and pierce yourself through with many sorrows (1 Tim. 6:10b)?

Moreover, an avaricious man not only bring trouble for himself, but also to his entire household. A good example of this is Achan, who took for himself the accursed thing from Jericho which was supposed to be devoted unto the Lord for destruction. “And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.” (Josh 7:20-21) Israel thus could not defeat Ai because of this sin in the camp. The greed of Achan brought trouble to the community of Israel. The valley in which Achan and his family were stoned and burned was called Achor (trouble), in remembrance of the trouble that was caused by Achan’s vice.

Similarly, a man’s greediness for gain can impact his family greatly. When you are greedy for gain, your children will learn from your example and follow you in the same pursuit. They will not love Christ, for they do not see the love for Christ in your life. Inevitably, your greed for gain will lead your family to ruin.

Greedy Christians are also detrimental to the church. They will teach others to trust in the arm of flesh, rather than in God. Worse still if he is a leader. He will stumble many with his teaching and run the ministries of the church based on carnal criteria rather than spiritual. The lust of his belly comes be-fore the glory of Christ’s kingdom. The greediness of this individual will thus bring trouble to the entire house of God!

On the other hand, the Bible tells us that the godly man will hate “gifts”. Not only does he abhor bribes and bungs, he detests too the wicked favours and incentives of men. He will not compromise truth and righteousness for a morsel of meat. This is unlike the wicked who “taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.” (Prov. 17:23)

Abram is one such man of righteousness and integrity. When the king of Sod-om offered Abram the riches of Sodom for saving him, Abram rejected the offer. “And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.” (Gen. 14:22-24)

On the other end of the spectrum, we find Judas Iscariot who sold out the Lord Jesus Christ for thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 26:15; 27:3; 27:9). Christ was a good Master who did no wrong to Judas. Yet, he would betray Christ because of the greed of gain. Beware!

Dear readers, let us be clean with respect to gain in our lives. Earn an honest living. Do not engage in any form of corruption. Let us also be sincere and honest in our giving. Let us be constrained by the love of Christ (2 Cor. 5:14). Such giving refreshes the bowels of the saints (see Phm. 1:7). Are you such a channel of blessing for the Lord?

However, there is also a giving that is calculated to win the favour of man, or for the promotion of self. It is a giving that seeks for return. Such hypocritical giving kills and destroys. It will bring trouble to one’s self and the family of God.

As for the ministries of the church, we must do our best to make sure that none is ran according to carnal desires. No man should use the ministries of the Lord to enrich himself. We must also take care not to turn the church into a place for business, whether personal or corporate. God forbid that we should turn the house of God into an emporium and a den of thieves!

Dearly beloved, know that greed will certainly bring trouble to yourself and to others. Stay far away from it. Thou shalt not covet (Exo. 20:17).

Loving in Christ,
Preacher Clement Chew