Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Greed is more than money

It is so easy for us to see the destructive greed of few who prey on the poor. We too often see those collecting millions and even billions of dollars through their companies while thousands of their employees are laid off, and those that have their jobs spared have their salaries reduced and their hours increase. As a people concerned with justice we have no problem identifying the selfishness of those who make their wealth off the laboring backs of the poor and oppressed.

It has been our rightful custom to spotlight the evil and wicked behavior of the disgustingly rich and the indifference to the poverty that has stricken their day and night laborers. Many will go uninsured, bills will be unpaid, and needs of children neglected, only to insure the company will have a positive quarter for their market shares. The broken backs of the working class have been crippled to carry the heavy load of affluence.

We have seen this, and our voices have cried out with injustice. We decry the behavior of the oppressors, and dream of the difference we would make if in their position.

However, I think far too many of us have been guilty of this greedy and selfish behavior no matter our own financial state. Many of us are guilty at pursuing our own richness at the expense of others.

Too many are pursuing their own sexual exploits at the expense future children. Too many men sleep around looking for the next score only to runaway and never show up again when a girl gets pregnant. They have pursued their own richness and joy at the expense of the woman and of the child. Women too sleep with men who are not good guys, good boyfriends, nor would they be good dads. When they get pregnant they do so unready, unwilling, and at the expense of a child.

I have seen in the last two years far too many children in broken families because their parents were too busy pursuing their own fun at the expense of their offspring. Too many children go with little food, little education, little love, and little support because we have been occupied with our own wants and desires. We live in a nation where even the poor have become greedy.

Now I am not saying all wealthy people are bad. There are many hard working generous people who have been blessed with resources. I am also no saying that mothers or fathers cannot rise up to an unplanned child and offer them a good home. What I am saying is that too often we put others at great disadvantage for the pursuit of our own pleasures, and this is greed. When we do that with our money, with future children, with our families we are no better than the CEO’s of Enron or Bernie Madoff.

I think it is not surprising than that Paul told the church in Philippi that in order for community to work we must Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves (Philippians 4:3). This is the antithesis of greed. It is easy in our country to worry about our rights, our privileges, our pursuit of happiness, but scripture tells us to throw our rights away to ensure the well being of others. That is the only way this world will change, that is how we can still turn this city around.

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