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Monday, November 26, 2018

Elizabeth Farms Christmas trees, Lancaster County, PA (photo by Mike Martin)
Our friend Mike Martin shared this photo he took at Elizabeth Farms here in Lancaster County.

"A Warning For All"

Message summary: Greed can impact us all regardless of how wealthy or poor we consider ourselves to be.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions" (Luke 12:15).

There's been a lot of shopping the last several days and will be until Christmas. But then there will also be "the after Christmas sales" (Brooksyne's favorite shopping time). Last week we had Black Friday, Saturday was Small Business Saturday and today is Cyber Monday, a marketing term used since the early days of internet-based shopping to connote the special deals available to online shopping the Monday following Thanksgiving.

Greed t-shirtThese three days mark the "official" start of the Christmas shopping season, at least here in the USA, although "Black Friday" deals have been posted all month. Now our snail mail and email boxes are both loaded with more than the usual amount of sales pitches.

Even when I'm studying from an online Bible the ads pop up! Our lawn tractor needs to be replaced so I have been doing searches online. Now, as I am examining today's text in Bible Gateway I notice that Home Depot has an ad beside the Bible showing various lawn tractors for sale which I admit did distract me!

Most of us make purchases during the holidays so we can provide gifts to others, but many of us also make purchases for ourselves during these sales as well. The materialistic hype during the holiday season highlights an ancient problem the human race has dealt with since the time of creation; "greed". In a sense greed was demonstrated by Adam and Eve at the time of the original sin. They were surrounded by beauty and more than enough provisions were allotted to them; provisions they didn't have to share with anyone else, but they wanted even more!

Greed can impact us all regardless of how wealthy or poor we consider ourselves to be. The Lord Jesus Himself warns, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed" (Luke 12:15).

A nifty page on the Bible Gateway site lists all the versions of a particular verse. One of my first tools when studying a passage is to examine this page. Here's the link to Luke 12:15.

Let us give consideration to today's verse phrase by phrase:

"Watch out!" Other versions render this "take heed" and "beware". In the Bible this word precedes something we really need to give our attention to!

"Be on your guard against" This speaks to our personal responsibility in this matter. It is in the present imperative which is a call to a long-term commitment for our attitude or action to be our continual way of life (lifestyle). (See here) This needs to begin when we are young since even children demonstrate greed. No matter how young or old, the temptation to be greedy is lurking, as we candidly acknowledge!

"All kinds of greed" Greed takes many forms. Although in the context of today's passage it's material things the dictionary states, "Having or showing a strong or excessive desire to acquire money or possess things, especially wishing to possess more than what one needs or deserves. 2. Having or showing a desire to eat or drink in large or excessive amounts. 3. Extremely eager or desirous for an activity or pursuit: greedy for the opportunity to prove their ability."

"Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions" This is especially where I find the various renderings in different translations helpful:
  • "For not even when one has an overflowing abundance does his life consist of nor is it derived from his possessions." (Amplified)
  • "Oneís life isnít determined by oneís possessions, even when someone is very wealthy." (Common English Bible)
  • "A manís life is not measured by how many possessions he has." (Evangelical Heritage Version)
  • "Your true life is not made up of the things you own, no matter how rich you may be." (Good News Translation)
  • "For real life and real living are not related to how rich we are." (The Living Bible)
Now let us be very candid here. Today's warning is to all, including a self warning to the writers of this daily encouragement. We readily admit that, in this world with an abundance of material things promising to make life easier or happier, we continually need to find balance. Hard to believe, but we read of one man in a previous generation who fought his greedy nature by living on a pole in the desert (true story). The antidote to greed is contentedness, a topic we will examine in tomorrow's message.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, why is it, that when we're given far more than we need, we want even more! It seems that we try to find satisfaction, enjoyment, and comfort in material things that are temporal which can distract us from spiritual pursuits which have lasting eternal value. When we are tempted to indulge help us indulge in that which has lasting value and influences others for the kingdom of God. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

May the Lord help us to keep a healthy balance so that we are not loaded down with unhealthy debt for we should be careful to let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another. See Romans 13:8

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Everything We Need"  Video   Acappella

Regarding children who get materialistic: Remember when we used to get the huge Sears and/or J.C. Penney's catalog in the late fall. It would arrive before Christmas just in time for children to drool over the latest toys, adults could check out the latest appliances, tool sets, fashions, etc. Yesterday in church our associate pastor told the congregation that over the past week, since a particular catalog advertising toys arrived in their mailbox, his 5 year old daughter asks to meet with him early each morning. She shows him the toys she would like for him to buy her and adds to her requests each day. It reminded me of how worn our catalog from Sears would get in a short time as the catalog was passed back and forth among my four siblings and me. I had the pages memorized that I especially liked. It sure didn't mean that we got the toys we wanted, as money was limited, but it sure was fun to dream about it!

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLEģ, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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