Never Have Lunch with Greedy Christians
I ran across this story in the life of the early church. It’s in the book of Corinthians. Paul is challenging the church. Actually it’s more of a rebuke. Apparently there was a man who was sleeping with his father’s wife…and for some reason the church was embracing this situation. Almost celebrating it.
How terrible that you should boast about your spirituality and yet you let this sort of thing go on. Don’t you realize that if even one person is allowed to go on sinning, soon all will be affected? When I wrote to you before I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin…but I wasn’t talking about unbelievers, you would have to leave the world to do that. What I meant was that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a Christian yet indulges in sexual sin… or is greedy.
See it’s easy for us to identify sex as a sin issue. Shun the people who are sexually messed up. Did you ever notice that we more frequently shun those who are messed up with the sins that are not a struggle for us. But then Paul has to go and meddle. Paul says don’t associate with greedy Christians. Don’t have lunch with greedy Christians.
Definition of greed: The word Paul uses is the Greek word pleonexia means an unquenchable desire for more. Sometimes in the Bible it’s translated as covetousness, because it involves a willingness to get more even at the expense of others.
Here’s a definition. Greed is wanting more for myself, even to the detriment of others.
Two boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. She said, ‘If Jesus were sitting here he would say, ‘Let my brother have the first pancake. I can wait.’ Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, ‘Okay, Ryan, you be Jesus.'” THAT’S GREED.
Are we greedy?
- – In a culture where the average credit card debt is around $9000 (and I can guarantee you that that average holds true within our church.)
- – Where the average giving in church is around 3% of our income.
- – In a world where 1.3 billion people – 20% of humanity live in absolute poverty. They survive on about a $1 a day and are too poor to afford adequate food.
- – In a world where the average Westerner lives better than 99.4% of all human beings who have ever lived.
- – In a world where more than 1 billion people lack access to clean water and preventable water-related diseases kill an estimated 10-20,000 children every day.
- – In a world where Christians compose 33% of the world population, recieve 53% of the worlds annual income and spend about 98% of it on ourselves…
Do you think we might be willing to admit that greed might perhaps, possibly, be a sin that muddies up our hearts? Listen. I’m not here to tell you, that you’re greedy. That’s between you and God. All I know is that Lynn and I have never in any year given less than 10% to charity. Usually it’s closer to 15%. We do not live extravagantly, nor do we live like misers. We enjoy going out to eat, but we also support four orphans. I loved going to Hawaii as a family but also loved going to Myanmar with my family to work in an orphanage. All in all, maybe kind of typical Christians, but more than once, my heart has been pierced by God saying…
Dan you have a problem with greed.
How about you? Wanna have lunch?
A great post, with a lot of pertinent points that I wrestle with as well.
One side thought–I hear the 3% figure a lot. I think it’s troublesome and well worth our consideration. I’d love to know, however, what constitutes “the church” and how that number is figured out. For example, I often give outside of any one church, so according to my church’s reporting, I’d be donating far less than that 10%–even tho that’s not the case.
More on topic: I’d love to hear a follow up post re. “guilt.” In many ways, it seems to me the opposite pendulum swing from “greed.”
Many times when I’ve raised statistics and concerns like you highlight here, people don’t want to discuss it because they can’t deal with the “guilt” of it all. To a certain degree, I’m sympathetic to that–it’s daunting to feel that much responsibility for something for an inequality so rampant–from the very moment of birth. And certainly God doesn’t want us weighed down with navel-gazing guilt.
That said, I’m personally willing to work through a little guilt–or perhaps, conviction?–if it means that I can positively affect the life of someone suffering.