Envy or Greed?

Pastor John's picture

So, this morning during my quiet time I ran across this verse in my Bible -- "...envy is rotteness to the bones."  (Pr. 14:30)  I couldn't help but think about our friends who are so involved in this Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protest thing.  Their mantra seems to be centered around a desire to take the wealth that others have accumulated for themselves.  It's so ironic!  They complain about the greed of corporate America and yet are greedy themselves.  It's not that they don't have something to complain about.  I, too, am weary of a business climate in which it is usual and customary to completely disregard the human individual and his/her needs in the pursuit of money.  The Bible also talks about "those who want to get rich" saying that it will "plunge [them] into ruin and destruction."  The "love of money" is soundly condemned!  (1 Tim 6:9,10) 

To be honest I don't see much difference between the OWS'rs and the greedy, rich corporate bosses they are maligning.  Whatever side of the issue they are on, they all want to take something that is not their's -- something that they haven't earned -- for themselves.  Call it envy, call it greed -- it's all the same thing.  The result, for either set of people, is "rotteness to the bones." 

Jesus' words:  "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?"       Matthew 8:36



It doesn't seem surprising that these two 'personalities' correlate.

I did a little biblical digging of my own, and found a little more beyond 'rotten to the bones.' Ecclesiastes 5:10-13 says, "(10) Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. (11) As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them? (12) The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep. (13) I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of it's owner..."

The biggest problem with this O.W.S. (and Occupy Denver) movement is for me is that I can see that the wealth of the rich is causing more greed with the people who "don't have enough" in an equal fashion compare to the wealthy they condemn. They make their small income, and aren't satisfied with it, and are shouting in the streets: "Take the rich people's money from them, they earned it by evil means!" The rich people are in their meeting rooms or parlors discussing with each other: "How can we build our stores up larger?! Who and what obstacles are in our way?" How is this movement supposed to benefit the people of this nation? That's the question that's been bothering me.

No one is looking for a way to get this overabundance spread and shared with the misfortunate people of our country. No one is trying to use the wealth they have to help our homeless population become stable and productive. It's all stemming from the concept of "What can be gotten for me?" This attitude is described further in 1 Timothy 6:3-5 - "(3)If anyone teaches fals doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, (4) he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions (5) and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth..."

There's a part in the letter to Timothy establishes an excellent point in verse 7: "For we brough nothing into this world, and we take nothing out of it." It also continues to tell the reader of how you end up falling to temptation and destruction in the persuit of wealth, followed by Paul's charge to Timothy as to what he (i.e.- WE) should persue: righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. With these things as our desires, greed and envy won't even come into play.

By Melissa Lafferty (not verified)

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