Greed is destructive. Greed destroys people and relationships as the passions of people rise to lead people to make bad and destructive decisions.
In this section of scripture, which mainly talks about the initial journey of Paul to Rome, we see how the greed of the boat owners led to the destruction of the boat and it's cargo. Had The Lord not intervened it would have also led to the loss of the people aboard.
Now I must preface this discussion by saying that this section of scripture does not specifically say that the owners were under the power of the passion of greed. However, as business people they would certainly have been focused on the profits to be made from trading and the sooner they would arrive at their destination the sooner they would receive payment for their cargo. In essence, even back then, time was money and the desire for profit overwhelmed good sense in this situation.
The nature of business today is little different from what it was in Paul's days. In a nutshell it boils down to the exchange of goods and services for payment.
While there is nothing wrong with being paid for what you do, when the focus on making money exceeds good sense and the profit motive is greater than the need for safety, welfare and concern for people, then it is a serious problem.
In Paul's situation the of the centurion guard ignored Paul's advice that to continue on as the winter came upon them would lead to loss. Instead he chose to listen to the pilot and the owners of the ship who wanted to continue on in the hope that they would make it to a better place to harbour for the winter.
And so they left what were safe if not great waters to harbour in for an unknown future, which we will see did lead to the loss of all the cargo and the ship itself.
Greed Leads to Loss
Today we see that greed runs rampant in both the business and private world. The focus on and greed for profit drives people to do many destructive things. It was greed for profit that led to the recent global financial crisis where greed pushed many countries across the world to the brink of bankruptcy.
And it is greed that drives gambling as well as many of the other lusts and passions of the flesh. The person caught in the trap of greed does not care for anything but the thing they are greedy for. It is coveting at its worst and is the pinnacle of selfishness.
Consider the destruction of relationships, families, marriages and more that have been destroyed through greed. The loss from greed and the destruction it causes cannot be underestimated.
The focus of greed is “It's all about me!” The greedy person is bound up in selfishness and cares nothing for other people.
The Christian Way
By contrast the Christian way is to consider the needs of others first and to seek the benefit of others.
Jesus came to serve and not to be served. He came to show the way for us and to be the example we should aspire to. He made the ultimate sacrifice by giving his life for us, by ignoring his own fears to give us the opportunity for salvation and life.
We are to forsake greed and all the passions of the flesh that would stand in the way of salvation. And the gifts The Lord has given us by the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives is aimed at helping us to overcome greed and all the passions of the flesh.
The work of the Holy Spirit is to bring us to maturity and we cannot be mature in Christ while we are ruled by the emotions and passions of our flesh.
We can overcome greed when it rises up in our flesh by looking to Jesus, drawing close to God through prayer and focussing our mind on the things of the spirit rather than the objects of our greed. By repentance we turn our minds around to do the will of The Lord. And by changing our thinking through drawing closer to God we learn the power of walking in the spirit.
Jesus Christ has given us the means of victory over the flesh, but it is our responsibility to use the gifts and teachings He has given us to participate in His victory. When we suffer from greed or any of the negative passions of human nature, we can call on The Lord and He will help us overcome.
The times of temptation are not times to turn from The Lord, even when or if we succumb to the temptations. Instead those are the times we need to draw even closer to God as we learn how to change and turn our lives around through the working of His power in our lives.
(Image sourced from stock.xchng provided by Svilen Milev)
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