Greedy at the Top, Generous at the Bottom
The idea of greedy at the top is such that people who are rich—they are at the top—are not generous to share. On the contrary, people who are poor—they are at the bottom—are generous enough to share with each other.
The curse of greed is in its lack of contentment. There is always something to crave for regardless of how much a greedy person already has. For example, a person who is already doing well may set his eyes on buying a car, or build a house, or any other big project. He may realize that he is falling short of what he wanted. Instead of waiting until he gets the needed funds, he may retain part of the wages of his struggling employees in order to meet his goal. This perversity should not be named among believers.
People who are poor tend to be more interdependent than those who are rich who feel like they don’t need much from others. The latter are therefore wont to close other people out of their territory.
There tends to be a positive correlation between greed and wealth. Back and forth, we can easily trace and justify one in the other. What this means is that there are people who are greedy because they are rich, and there people who are rich because they are greedy. Those who are greedy because they are rich are the ones who overprotect their wealth. They think that anyone coming close to them are after their wealth—and more often, rightly so. Those who are rich because they are greedy are the ones that have been able to accumulate the wealth because they shunned their responsibilities to people around them. They accumulate everything including things they were supposed to distribute.
A story is told of a very wealthy man who had never been known to be generous to his local church. The church was in some financial need. A committee assigned the responsibility of raising the funds decided to make a personal appeal to him. When the committee met him one afternoon, they shared with him the church’s need. They told him that in view of his vast resources, they were certain that it wouldn’t be a problem for him to make some substantial contribution. The conversation that ensued went something like the following:
Rich Man (RM): Well!, So you have it all figured out, haven’t you? In the course of your investigation did you find out that I have a widowed mother who has no other means of support but me?”
Church Committee (CC): No, we didn’t know that.
RM: Did you know that I have a jobless sister who was left by a drunken husband with five children and no means to provide for them?
CC: No, we didn’t know that either.
RM: Well, good people, did you know also that I have a brother who is crippled due to an automobile accident and can never work another day to support his wife and family?
CC: (Embarrassed) No sir, we did not know that either.
RM: (feeling triumphant) Well, I’ve never given any of them a cent so why should I give anything to you?
Towards the end of the catalogue of excuses, the church committee might have felt that the man had enough reasons not to be expected to contribute anything substantial. But look at it again. We may not know how rich this man was, what we can bet is that there are so many people out there who may not be as rich, yet they have responsibilities and at the same time, they would participate in the church financial needs.
The story above tells us that there are people who are rich, but this is not because wealth is overtaking them as they pursue the purposes of God. Rather, they are rich because of greed and selfishness. This story almost reenacts Jesus’ parable of the rich young ruler.
“And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.