Dragonish Greed

July 28, 2008

Greed makes us dragonish.  The good news, though, is that Christ can strip off the beastly skin and make us human again — truly human, that is.  Eustace Scrubb experiences this truth in C. S. Lewis’s Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  Eustace turns, or I should say he is turned, from being a self-absorbed brat into a self-giving boy.  Living to give rather than living to have is a characteristic of redeemed humanity. 

And yet, even the redeemed feel dragonish at times.  We want more: more stuff, more control, more leisure, more security, more pleasure.  Are these things inherently wrong?  No.  Christians shouldn’t be Gnostics, who wrongly think that “spiritual equals good” and “physical equals bad.”  First Timothy 4:1-5 is in the Bible, and it means something.   

On the other hand, Luke 12:13-21 is also in the Bible, and I’m pretty sure Jesus wasn’t pulling our leg with this one.  Apparently there are two ways to be rich in this world, and one of those ways leads to hell.  Greed is real. 

So here’s the rub: How do we distinguish between the desire to enjoy God’s good gifts and plain old selfishness?  It will be hard to live as gospel-shaped people if we don’t know the answer to that question.  Constantly distinguishing the two desires is part of what it means to “take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness” (Luke 12:15). 

Tomorrow I will resolve the tension by providing a list of items that you should and shouldn’t buy if you’re a Christian.  Just kidding.  But I will try to give some help in evaluating your heart.

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