This week’s devotional prepares for the Sunday, 10/15 sermon called “It’s Mine, Mine, Mine,” and the subject of the sermon is greed. Greed is defined as an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food. Synonyms for greed include avarice, acquisitiveness, covetousness, materialism, desire, and appetite.
Are you guilty of greed? It’s hard for any American to escape this deadly sin. Read the devotional of the week and explore the idea of this sin’s grip on us westerners.
Daily Bible Reading:
Monday, October 9. Read Philippians 4:10-14. 1) For what is Paul thankful in this text? 2) What did Paul say he had learned in his experience? 3) Why do you think he was able to live in this way (see verse 13)?
Tuesday, October 10. Read Leviticus 19:9-10. 1) What instructions did Moses give Israel regarding the harvesting of a field? 2) What was the purpose of this? 3) How would greed affect this?
Wednesday, October 11. Read Matthew 6:19-24. 1) What is Jesus’ advice about possession? 2) What is the lie that possessions tell us? 3) What makes “two masters” impossible?
Thursday, October 12. Read Ecclesiastes 5:8-12. 1) Why do the poor get oppressed by others according to Ecclesiastes? 2) What is the deceit of money? 3) Why can the rich sleep?
Friday, October 13. Read Ephesians 4:28. 1) What does Paul say about stealing? 2) How could greed be a form of stealing? 3) What did Paul say the purpose of work is?
Saturday, October 14. Read James 5:1-6. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
Dear Father, you have invited me to follow You, to sell my goods, to give to the poor, and to completely submit myself to You. Give me the faith that is required to trust you above all things of this life. My desires for wealth lead to greed. Satisfaction is out of my reach whenever I quit trusting you. When I place you above earthly possessions I am freed from greed and avarice. Please strengthen my weak human nature and help me to resist unnecessary wealth and subdue my inclinations toward greed. In Jesus’ name, I pray this. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
Take My Life and Let It Be
by Francis Havergal, 1874
Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee.
Take my moments and my days;
let them flow in endless praise,
let them flow in endless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee,
swift and beautiful for thee.
Take my silver and my gold;
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as thou shalt choose,
every power as thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne,
it shall be thy royal throne.
Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee,
ever, only, all for thee.
Devotional Article of the Week:
Have you been vaccinated against this flu?
by Rubel Shelly
It may not be in your dictionary, but the word isn’t misspelled. The issue for a moment is not the possibility of a “bird flu” outbreak but the present reality of our propensity for constantly spending and consuming more than is necessary or prudent. One could even speak of our demonstrated habit of unhealthy addiction to debt. The term some sociologists use for this phenomenon is affluenza.
My late parents lived through the Great Depression. They despised debt and believed the biblical aphorism: “Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.” (Proverbs 22:7 NLT) The Scout Oath I learned as a boy said that scouts are “thrifty” — a word hardly ever heard these days.
According to statistics from the Federal Reserve, household debt in the United States, including mortgages, jumped from $6.4 trillion at the end of 1999 to $11 trillion by the end of the third quarter of last year — a 72% increase. Late payments on credit cards hit an all-time high last July. And the savings rate in this country stands at -0.6. We spend more money as a nation than we make!
It doesn’t take a genius to know something is wrong here. Politicians talk about it all the time in terms of government spending — but do nothing about it. Families and individuals don’t have to wait for the national leaders to address the country’s budget deficit before dealing with our own problems with affluenza.
Materialism, greed, and coveting are sins. Self-denial, detachment, and stewardship are virtues. A bit of serious introspection would seem to be in order.
- Do you pray to be liberated from greed and image-preoccupation?
- Do you budget your income, spend responsibly, and share with others?
- Do you tithe and make offerings beyond the 10% benchmark?
- What would personal downsizing for the sake of others mean in your life?
- What do you need to be content?
- Will you give away something you are attached to this week?
- Are you conscious of any defense mechanisms surfacing as you read this?
Debt is like alcoholism, lust, and bad temper. It does no good to be aware of the problem without taking practical steps to correct it. Pay with cash. (Or pay off your credit card every month.) Repent of the lies you tell yourself to transform wants into needs. Make a budget — and stick to it. Ask God to help you get free of your need for status symbols — especially expensive clothes and cars.
At stake is not just reducing debt but anxiety and better spiritual health.
True religion with contentment is great wealth. After all, we didn’t bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But 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 at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:6-10)