27 Greed brings grief to the whole family, but those who hate bribes will live.
Proverbs 15:27 (New Living Translation)
In this article, I am going to study the subject on greed and discover why it is harmful to us. The first question, what is greed? Am I in greed when I believe in God’s promise to make me rich? If your answer is yes, then God is the one who encourages Christians to be greedy. If that is the case, why did he put Proverbs 15:27 in the Bible? Obviously, despite the accusations from the religious people, asking and trusting God for greater prosperity is not greed, at least in the opinion of God.
Let us look at how God defines “greed”.
Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give!
Proverbs 21:26 (New Living Translation)
22 Greedy people try to get rich quick but don’t realize they’re headed for poverty.
Proverbs 28:22 (New Living Translation)
25 Greed causes fighting; trusting the Lord leads to prosperity.
Proverbs 28:25 (New Living Translation)
It is clear that God considers greed to be the opposite of prosperity. This does not mean greedy people do not want to prosper. Their problem is their way for prosperity is opposite from God’s way. This is why God says greedy people will be poor.
The lesson here is:
If you want to be rich, trust in God.
If you want to be poor, be greedy.
God’s way of prosperity is to be generous. We tithe and sow to enrich the lives of others. Recently I received a magazine from Jerry Savelle Ministries International (JSMI) in which I am a partner. I am glad to read about the ministry’s work in Africa. The money that I tithed and sowed was used to feed the poor, train pastors, provide education for children, plant churches and other blessings to the people there. I told myself that my harvest is going to be great.
What do you think will happen when I get richer?
More people will get to eat.
More children will get education.
More churches will be planted.
More pastors will be trained.
More people will have access to clean water.
I believe the above is not for me alone. When Christians get richer, the world will be a better place because we are not greedy. We are generous. So, as Christians, our way to prosperity is to be generous, not greed.
What is greed anyway? The root cause for greed is the mentality of scarcity. In the mind of greedy people, there is very limited wealth in this world. If I don’t grab it, someone else will. This is why greedy people are willing to sacrifice everything else for the sake of more money. They are willing to forsake their families, ignore their health, cheat, lie, oppress and exploit other people for their own personal gain.
Proverbs 15:27 says greed brings grief to the whole family. Why is that so? The reason is money alone does not bring happiness. Money is only a factor but does not decide whether you will be happy. God’s will for money is to serve us as our servants and not our masters. If we are to sacrifice everything else and focus on more money, we are serving money. As such, we are not behaving in the way as our species should. We belong to the species of God. As gods, our destiny is to be blessed in every area of our lives. That is our complete joy. Focusing on more money and sacrifice others will only bring grief to the whole family.
The second part of Proverbs 15:27 says those who hate bribes will live. Bribery is the equivalent of cancer in every society. It corrupts the system and causes poverty to the people. It can destroy even the strongest nation.
One of my interests is to read about the history of China in the internet. Historically, the central portion of China was the richest and the most fertile land in the region. Any government that occupied it would be the strongest and richest nation within the region. However, there had been many changes in dynasties within China. That is the equivalent to the change in governments. Many of the changes were due to the incumbent who was in control of a rich and powerful nation lost to a lesser force. The common factor I find in their defeat is corruption. What is the use of having the most powerful army when the soldiers are not paid? The generals kept the soldiers’ salaries into their own pockets. Can you expect these unpaid soldiers to fight for their country? What is the use of having a huge population and a huge tax base when most of the income was pocketed by corrupt civil servants?
I suspect bribery was the cause of many nations and empires as well. Bribery is destructive. As Christians, we don’t need bribes because we have a loving God for our prosperity. Those of us who hate bribes will not only live but we will receive greater prosperity than those who don’t.