The Holy Spirit has begun to focus my attention on the repeated condemnation of "greed" in the Scriptures.
Oddly, I believe the Holy Spirit has also helped me see that same word and its consequences in a recent op-ed column at The Blaze by former Fox Sports and ESPN commentator Jason Whitlock.
I'd like to review with you what I've found in the Scriptures about this vice of greed and compare it to the virtues in Whitlock's comments. Please stay with me...
1. "Greed" as mentioned in the Scriptures.
The word "greed" or "greedy" is identified nearly 30 times in the New American Standard Version of the Bible (NASB). It can relate to the covetousness found in the 10th commandment of Moses (Ex. 20:17), which condemns having a strong desire or "lust" for something that belongs to another.
From the greed of Elisha's servant Gehazi (2 Kings 5:15-27) to the warnings of David and Solomon in Psalm 10:3; Proverbs 1:19, 15:27 and 28:25, greed is seen as a sinful, natural trait that must be overcome in God's people. The prophet Jeremiah twice said "everyone is greedy" of unjust gain (Jer. 6:13 and 8:10). Other prophets point out the evils and consequences of greediness (Ezek. 16:27; Hosea 4:8; and Habakkuk 2:5).
In the New Testament, Jesus condemned the Pharisees as "hypocrites," being "full of extortion and greed" (Matt. 23:25-26). Mark quoted Jesus as placing greed in the context of evil thoughts, acts of immorality and the defilement of other wicked deeds:
"For from within, out of the hearts of people, come the evil thoughts, acts of sexual immorality, thefts, murders, acts of adultery, deeds of greed, wickedness, deceit, indecent behavior, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile the person." (Mark 7:21-23; NASB)
Paul warned the Gentile believers at Corinth of the dangers of repeated instances of greed (or covetousness) and other wicked sins, including a covetous [greedy] person "who is called a brother." The prescribed antidote was to "remove the wicked person from among yourselves" (1 Cor. 5:9-13).
This firm correction was to be done humbly and only by those in spiritual authority in the local congregation, realizing the unrighteous and sexually impure will not inherit the kingdom of God. Then Paul reminded them "Such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were "sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God..." (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
2. Greed can impact our actions and attitudes.
Whitlock reports that USA Today recently "published a column attacking ESPN broadcaster Samantha Ponder for a tweet that supported University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines."
The swimmer has gained notice for publicly sharing her thoughts about biological males competing against females in sports. The new phenomena is part of gender-dysphoric individuals demanding freedom to live out their newly-found, alternate sexuality in public: misusing gendered bathrooms and showers in schools/public facilities or biological boys or men unfairly competing in strength-based athletics against girls or women.
Jason Whitlock adapted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s anti-Vietnan War speech to write in his op-ed: "A time comes when silence is betrayal." He went on to say, "It applies to transgenderism. It applies to America's assault on common sense."
I suggest it also applies to public greed and covetousness, as well. Cultural "influencers" work to redefine terminology, so they can control the conversations, illustrations and indoctrinations. This becomes a religious-like lust for what belongs to others and not to you. The prophet Isaiah warned:
"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" (Isa. 5:20, NASB).
Whitlock, who is a stout individual and used to play football at Ball State University, stated:
"I have sympathy for men and women who believe they were born the wrong gender. But common sense makes it clear that not everything is for everybody. A boy who thinks he's a girl doesn't get to compete in girls' sports. That's life. No different from how I've long thought I would look great in size 32 skinny jeans. They're not for me. They don't fit."
Greed is a sinful lust for what someone else has. It is a wicked vice that impacts our actions and attitudes. God has made us male or female. There are only these two genders and they are to be virtuously lived out to please our Creator and Sustainer.
The apostle Paul urged believers to "walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Col. 1:10; NASB). Let us learn and live accordingly.
Gary Curtis served in full-time ministry for 50 years, the last 27 years of which he was part of the pastoral staff of The Church on The Way, the Van Nuys, California, Foursquare church. Now retired, Gary continues to write a weekly blog at worshipontheway.wordpress.com and frequent articles for digital and print platforms.
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