The Greedy Millionaire
Many look at millionaires and assume they are greedy, selfish, and uncaring. Movies, TV, and the media depict the rich like slothful fools. The thought process is they must have done something illegal, immoral or unethical to accumulate that level of wealth. Though some of these stereotypes may be true, I have found the true story with many millionaires. It has to do with one’s attitude more than one’s level of wealth. I have seen more people who are greedy and don’t have wealth than those who have money and are greedy. In fact most of the faith-based millionaires I have interviewed over the years, do not like to talk about money, they live very humble lives, and use money to help others. Their generosity is their main motive. Greed is not a part of the equation. Yet our society sells greed like it’s a good thing. There is so much talk about getting rich as fast as you can. How do you view greed?
Seven Reasons People Desire Money
When you look at a person’s views on money, it impacts many other areas of their life: how they view God, their Spouse, their children, their other relationships, and even their career. The motives behind why someone wants money become a root question. People generally feel money is important to them for seven main reasons:
1. for security–now
2. for security–in the future
3. As a reward for a job well done
4. for freedom
5. To give away
6. To buy the necessities of life
7. To buy things to make life more comfortable or convenient
It is when greed and the pursuit of money consume you that problems arise. Do you remember the movie Wall Street? One of the most famous quotes from the movie is when one of the main characters Gordon Gecko who is a high flyer says “Greed is good. It works” To him, it did. It brought him the things he wanted–a big office with people at his beck and call. A beautiful beach house in the Hampton’s, and untold wealth to do with what he liked. But he got trapped by his greed, and that is often what happens with greed. It traps you until you have no way out. It can be humbling.
The Meaning of Greed
Regarding those who are greedy the Bible says, “The greedy bring ruin to their households, but those who hate bribes will live.” (Proverbs 15: 27). There are people whom the Bible describes as greedy in the commission of sin (Ephesians 4:19). One word that involves and describes greed is the word “covet.” There are about seven different Hebrew and Greek words translated covet. “To desire for oneself,” “to fix the mind on,” and “to extend the arms for anything” are the meanings of three of these words translated covet.
What Does God Say About Greed?
As intimated, greed is inordinate and misdirected ambition and desire. Paul said, “I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel” (Acts 20: 33). Rather than being guilty of covetousness and greed, Paul assisted others (vs. 34). In so doing, he serves as an example (vs. 35). Even preachers can be guilty of greed (I Tim. 6: 5-11). Some are greedy because they believe materialism is the answer. Jesus addressed some greedy people when he said, “Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12: 15). Jesus then described a greedy farmer and the waste that characterized him (vs. 16-21). Greed precludes contentment (Heb. 13: 5). Moreover, greed is the prolific cause of all evil. “The love of money is the root of all evil,” penned Paul (I Timothy 6: 10). So how do you view greed?