Being Rich Doesn’t Make You Greedy

Being Rich Doesn’t Make You Greedy February 15, 2012

While Occupy Wall Street is slowly working its way out of the news, the ideas behind it are holding strong: being rich is evil. If you’re well above the average (the saying goes) you should have your riches taken away from you. It doesn’t matter how you collected the money. If you have it, you must be evil and greedy

The problem with this logic is: America’s homeless are some of the richest people in the world.

Before you hate me too much, take a minute to work through my logic.

  • Assume the average homeless person collects $10 dollars a day panhandling (way below the true average).
  • He does this every day of the year leaving him with a grand total of $3,650 dollars – less than most Americans make in a month. Well below the poverty line.
  • According to the Global Rich List, this puts them above 85% of the world. That’s top 15%!

Money Doesn’t Make You Greedy

While there are a few greedy millionaires, most aren’t that consumed by money. They live their lives like anyone else and if you saw them on the street you’d call them “normal”, “nice”, and even “generous”.

But you know who is greedy? Pretty much everyone else.

Consider your home. You sit comfortably on your couch and watch one of your multiple TVs. You have an internet connection and munch on junk food between meals. You have 2 or even 3 cars and while you worry about gas, you’ve never run out for lack of funds.

Now think of the rest of the world: No TV, not internet, no car, and none of this “multiple meals” garbage.

And while Americans have all these things and more we are still completely consumed with what we don’t have. That’s called greed; and Christians are some of the worst culprits!

Greedy Christians

We follow a God who calls us to give until it hurts, who lived as a homeless traveling preacher, and then we scoff at the pastor who asks us to help him pay the bills. But didn’t Peter say not muzzle the ox while it treads the grain (1 Tim 5:18)? And wasn’t it Jesus who said the worker deserves his wages (Luke 10:7)?

I’m not saying you need to tithe 10% or give to a prosperity preacher, but when you look at the rich do you consider them greedy because they have more money than you? Do you think it’s wrong to work hard and expect to reap the appropriate rewards?

Because Jesus thought the rich should get what they work for. He thought preachers should be taken care of by their congregations and that His people should give of their money, time, and talents freely.

Is that You?

Are you living the way Jesus commanded you to?

I’m not.

I’m about as greedy as they come! As I grow older and get better handling money, I find myself wanting to keep more and give less. When choosing between going out to eat or dropping $20 dollars into the offering I tend to do the former.

What about you? Are you giving until it hurts, even if it’s just a little pain? Are you happy to support the men and women in ministry around you?

Are you as convicted by Jesus’ words as I am?

Being rich isn’t what makes you greedy – you’re already rich. If having a giant pile of money does anything it’s that it gives you a perspective on things that really matter (check out Bill Gates!).

It’s time for American Christians to stop worrying about the greed speck that isn’t even in the rich’s eye and take a long hard look at the log in our own.

What are you doing to counter greed?

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  • You don’t have to be rich to be greedy, even the poorest of the poor can be that way as well. If you survey the average churchgoing Christian you would find that only about 20% actually tithe and really make an effort to be strong givers.

    Most of them still haven’t gotten the concept that part of being blessed and becoming more blessed is that you have to be able to be well trusted with what God gives you. Whether it’s time, money, gifts, talents, etc., the more you give, the more you receive.

    • It’s true. Most of us really struggle to understand all we have belongs completely to God

      • What about those of us who are below poverty level due to being disabled? I worked hard for my Bachelors degree, only to become unable to work after only 2 1/2 yrs of employment (I was an accountant & manager). My income now is only enough to pay the rent, utilities, and buy food and necessary household supplies. I have no car so transportation to the doctor, pharmacy, grocery store etc takes any remaining funds I may have for cabs. I cannot give 10% or even close to it and maintain my home & health. I have prayed to God, and requested prayer from others, for about 5 years now & I haven’t received a breakthrough yet. The “prosperity gospel” teaches that is somehow my fault (sin, lack of faith, etc) but I can assure you all that I have done the best I could in all areas of God’s Word. I study His Word daily, sometimes all day, and I fellowship with like believers via the web because I have no way to church & haven’t found an appropriate one that provides transportation. No, I don’t think it’s wrong to have a measure of prosperity IF it is used to supply basic needs and the remaining surplus is spent on sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and helping those who are in need (edification of fellow members of the Body of Christ). I have nothing left each month to give as a tithe or offering…does that mean that God won’t answer my prayers or meet my needs?? Everyone who is an advocate of the “give to get” prosperity teaching needs to walk in my shoes for one day. This false doctrine tells me that if I “sow sparingly, I’ll reap sparingly” so what do you think I should give up in order to “sow my seed abundantly” my rent (becoming homeless), my electricity, heat, and water, medical care, or food??? There is literally nothing left. Think about those of us in situations like this before you buy into the idea that God must receive money (to the church or wherever) in order to bless those of us in need. This is a damning, cursing philosophy for those of us who can’t give or “pay” God because we’re told God won’t help us unless we give and we can’t give what we don’t have. This “religion” teaches that there is NO hope for me or those in the same situation. How do you think that makes us feel? Don’t you know that believers in this “give to get” cult who are in a situation similar to mine, drift farther away from God because they can’t live up to the expectations that these churches/false prophets drum into their heads & hearts? Think very seriously about the doctrine you’re believing and ask yourself if you REALLY want to be a party to this!

        • Teresa,

          While I empathize with your situation, I find your comments to be completely without merit in regards to my post. Take some time to consider how I define greedy – you and I define it similarly. The whole point of the post was to use the resources you have wisely and for the average American to take what they have (which is quite a bit) and give up the bottomless pit of wanting more.

          I also specifically said NOT to give to prosperity preachers. I find them to be disgusting, filthy beasts working to devour the sheep from within.

          And finally, the fact that you can pay rent, eat, and travel makes you better off than the majority of the world. You aren’t rich by American standards, but if you aren’t living in a shack you are doing significantly better than most of the world.

          I would strongly recommend you re-read my post carefully and interpret the words said in their context.

  • Greed is a matter of the heart, not the wallet. Poor people can be as greedy as rich. The sin is not how much you have. It is how much you love what you have, and if that is more than loving Jesus, it’s too much.

    BTW, at this point, I would have to say the government is amongst the most greedy of entities I have seen. Just sayin.

    • Haha, the government sure is happy to spend everyone else’s money, that’s for sure!

  • Great point – I like your point about considering others. Often we talk about wealth only in the sense of the American context… It helps us to understand how rich we are when we consider the rest of the world.

    • Thanks. Sometimes tt’s hard to remember how good we’ve really got it.

  • A lot of good points here. It definitely isn’t having money that makes a person greedy. If you have money, you are likely at least sharing the benefits with friends and family. It seems that the very poor tend to be more greedy. Like when you give homeless person food, they often get mad that it’s not money. And if you give them some change, they’re mad if you’re not giving them enough.

    • I haven’t seen that much in most of the poor people I’ve met, but my experience is probably different from yours.

      If I had to pick “the most greedy” I’d probably go with the middle class. The greedy poor and greedy rich are easy to pick out, while the greedy middle can hide behind their neighbor’s prosperity.

    • I totally disagree with you, at least from my experience & perspective. I have family members who range from “well off” to millionaires yet they never seem to have enough money…always wanting more even at the expense of others, as if they’re trying to fill a bottomless pit whole in their soul where only Jesus can dwell & fill. I, on the other hand, am below poverty level and I have to literally stand in a store & decide if I need to spend my last $2 on bath tissue or soap. You can’t get more frugal than that! I don’t want nor ask for riches of any kind but for enough to meet my basic needs and have some surplus to help others who are in need.

    • You are judging all the poor as if they are scammers. There is a difference brother! I will go hungry rather than bother others with my needs by begging, You can’t lump all the poor people in with con artists. Most of us are nothing like that. I don’t ask for handouts from anyone…I just do without. And don’t think that the wealthy are “likely” to give to those of us in need because I know different. It is almost always the poor who help the poor, not those with wealth! Walk a mile in our shoes before you judge & spew out ignorant words as you have done!

    • I am leaving this site because you are judging me (poor) against scammers. You don’t nor will you ever know how ignorant you are.

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  • I agree that the mere fact that someone may be wealthy does not make them greedy as well as the fact that wanting more all the time is a characteristic of greediness….however, I am not sure that Occupy Wallstreet is protesting all rich people…I think the idea is that government is greedy and the 1% that influence government – despite what is best for the entire country – is greedy.

    In other words, no, being rich doesn’t mean that you are greedy…but as a wealthy person with more potential to make a positive difference in this country – given the choice – do you choose to serve yourself only – or – consider your options in relation to the amount of people (besides yourself) that your decision impacts.

    Rich or “poor” (as you are correct…we do not know what poverty is compared to some other truly poor countries) that is the question that we must all ask ourselves.

    • Yeah, I had to make a few sweeping generalizations about Occupy to make my point. :D

  • I don’t mean to be, but I guess I’m considered greedy. :-( I’ve never really thought about the rich people as greedy though. I think of it more in terms of they’re just doing things differently/better than other people. Sure a lot of them are sorta just handed money, but some work their butts off to get where they are. :-)

    • Very true! around 80% of millionaires are first generation rich; aka they worked their butts off to get there! lol

  • I heard a statement in the past that says, “Materialism begins where your income ends.” Sometimes we think people are materialistic and greedy when they’re income exceeds our own. However, we may be considered greedy to someone who makes less than we do.

    I constantly at war with myself to be content with what I have been blessed with and not to envy someone else. I think when you envy, that is where the desire to be greedy can begin.

    • It’s so hard not to envy other people, ya know? Sometimes, I really want what you’ve got. lol