When we hear the word "greed", we almost automatically think about money or possessions. Certainly Qoheleth and Jesus are referring to them, Qoheleth about the vanity about working so hard to accumulate wealth with an anxious heart; Jesus speaking a parable about a man who used "I" more times than is found in Mississippi. Paul continues that theme by advising to "seek what is above, not of what is on earth" and "to put to death...immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry" which is like worshipping a false god.
Greed puts the emphasis on me, my ego, the big fat "I". That was the problem of the man in the parable. It was all about him, not sharing his good fortune with the people who worked his land for him but thinking of his own future comfort. He lived a life that was the very opposite of Christian ethos. Instead of giving, he was hoarding.
But Jesus adds: "Take care to guard against all greed." What could he possibly mean? Again, greed puts the emphasis on me, my ego, the big fat "I".
For each of us, the answer to all greed might be a bit different, but here are some possibilities:
- Do I always have to be right?
- Do I always want my own way?
- Do I seek and ask of others perfection?
- Do I try to please everyone so everyone will like me?
It isn't all about me and mine. As we learned last week in praying the Our Father, it's about us and our.