One of me and my wife’s favorite true crime television documentary show is called American Greed.
This program focuses on the stories behind some of the biggest corporate and White-collar crimes in recent U.S. history. In addition, it features stories about common financial crimes that affect scores of everyday citizens like Ponzi schemes, real estate and investment frauds, embezzlement, insurance and medical fraud, identity theft, money laundering, art theft, credit card fraud, and even “murder for hire” to name a few. The slogan of the American Greed show is “some people will do anything for money.”
Over the years of watching American Greed, we have seen several Christian pastors and ministers being featured on the show, who have been convicted of scheming people out of their money and then living lavish lifestyles with the stolen money.
It’s like what the apostle Peter said about these people:
In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. 2. Peter 2:3 NLT
They lure unstable people into sin, and they are well trained in greed. 2. Peter 2:14 NLT
To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy. 1. Timothy 6:5 NLT
The dictionary definition of the word greed is: an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth.
Jesus warned about the sin of greed when he said: “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” (Luke 12:15 NLT)
In fact, the Bible says that, “You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.” (Ephesians 5:5 NLT)
Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 1. Corinthians 6:9-10 NLT
No matter whether a person calls him or herself a Christian believer, if this person is living a greedy lifestyle, he or she will not go to Heaven! The Bible even says that we should not even eat with such a person, meaning, have communion or fellowship with a greedy person.
I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. 1. Corinthians 5:11 NLT
We are seeing more and more of these financially “greedy” predators popping up all over the place, including in the church, fleecing and stealing from innocent people. It is a sign of the times we are living in, as the Bible says that, “In the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money.” (1. Timothy 3:1-2 NLT)
Here are some Biblical lessons we can learn to protect us from falling into the sin of greed.
First of all, we are warned to not to long to be rich or craving money because, “People who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” (1. Timothy 6:9-10 NLT)
We need to understand that, “True godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.” 1. Timothy 6:6-7 NLT
Or, as the apostle Paul nicely broke it down for us when he said: “For I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” (Philippians 4:11-12 NLT)