“No immoral, impure or greedy person — such a person is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” (Ephesians 5:5)
Greed — the never satisfied desire for more, in particular, more money or things.
Jesus told his disciples not to store up things — treasures — here on earth, where they are destroyed by moth or rust. He said, “God your Father knows what you need, even the basics of food, drink, and clothing, and he will provide. You cannot serve God and money — choose which to depend on” (Matthew 6:24–34).
Greed is idolatry, putting trust in wealth. And a greedy person can’t love others.
“You will always have the poor among you,” Jesus said, “and you can help them whenever you want to” (Mark 14:7). The early church did. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need (Acts 2:45).
How can we help the needy? Paul said, “use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need” (Ephesians 4:8).
And Paul explained how this works, “Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it” (2 Corinthians 8:12–14).
Many are poorer than us: hungry, homeless, desperate. War-torn areas, violent, abusive families, and coercive and destructive relationships. Many people are suffering physically and mentally. These people need our money, help and support.
Paul said, “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Jesus gives us the real riches of his forgiveness, freedom, new life and love. He comes to us through his word, baptism and his body and blood. And, quite surprisingly, also through the hungry, thirsty, naked, strangers, sick and prisoners we care for. Through giving to these people, we serve him (Matthew 25:31-46).
We thank you, Lord, for the material riches you have given us. Help us not cling to them or serve them but share them generously with those in need. Amen.