Greed Knows No Rest
If we have been working so hard, whether under the supervision our own conscience or the supervision of somebody else, we would love to hear the word: Enough! In that context, the word enough means rest. If we can pursue the material things of this world without at one point hearing the word enough, we will never know rest. This is why King Solomon advised: “Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom” (Prov. 23:4). Some Bible translations render it as follows: “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.”
Good stewardship needs rest and reflection. If we are in tune with the Creator and understand the purpose of life, we wouldn’t be enslaved by materialism. If allowed to come into someone’s life, greed always assumes the position of a master and the person becomes a slave. One of the characteristics of a slave is overworking.
We read in Proverbs 11:24, “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.” It takes a lot of work to withhold what was meant to be scattered. The reason is that one of the natural ways to secure what is withheld is to buffer them. Buffering them means one has to acquire more to cushion what he has already accumulated. This is how the greedy lose freedom and rest.
It is paradoxical that one can scatter so much yet tend to increment while withhold yet tend to poverty. Part of the explanation for this paradox is that poverty is not measured by how little one has but how much one disregard what he already has. In the same way, wealth is not measured by how much one has but how little one regards what one doesn’t have. In other words, anyone who doesn’t allow what he doesn’t have to cause him to lose sleep is a rich person.
For greed, having more than enough is not enough. Mahatma Gandhi was right when he said that there can be enough for all of us but not enough for one greedy person. It is also attributed to him to have said: “There is enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”
We need to work hard in order to discipline ourselves in the way we relate with money because money is a necessity. The world has increasingly become monetary—we need money at every turn. It will therefore claim the right to dictate our pace and place in life. When we allow it to follow, it is a sluggish and reluctant follower; when we allow it to lead, it is a fast runner and has a stamina to hold out for a long distance stretch. However slow it follows, the place of money is back. We are sure to get it wrong the moment we start chasing after money.
Corruption: A Perfect Recipe for Troubled Life
When greed marries covetousness, they give birth to corruption, an offspring that eats and eats but never gets satisfied. Make no mistake about it! There is no chance for a corrupt steward unless he realizes sooner rather than later the folly and anathema of corruption and repents forthwith. Wealth accumulated through corruption is a wealth of wickedness of which the Bible says:
“There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.”—Proverbs 13:7.
It is better to be kept poor by integrity than be made rich by corruption, and it is better to be poor happy than be rich sad. The Bible is awash with warnings against corrupt gains. It doesn’t matter how well one seems to do, if his wealth is from corruption, he will lack the inner joy. It will also be a question of time before his misery explodes into the open. The Bible says in Proverbs 15:27: “He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.”
Greed takes every advantage including taking advantage of the disadvantaged to acquire more. The Bible warns: “Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate” (Prov. 22:22). I once stopped a man who wanted a bribe from an old helpless lady who had gone for her ID card. I told the man he had a job and he ought to be the one to give the poor old lady something. The man was wroth with me.
There are so many rich countries in terms of resources but because of corruption, their people wallow in poverty while a few wax in reaches. If you do research you will find that such nations are troubled. The rich live in a haunting fear while the majority of the citizens live in a daunting poverty. The Bible says that righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34). May I repeat: A nation that allows greed to flourish in the form of corruption will never develop, it doesn’t matter how much resources they have.
Bribery? No thanks! Neither give nor take.