Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
The simple definition of greed as stated by Merriam – Webster…”A selfish and excessive desire for more of something (such as money) than is needed motivated by naked ambition and greed.
A further definition of greed goes on to add, “Intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food.” In greater discussion of the oft taboo subject, we learn that greed is motivated by the desire for the possessions of others or the effort to obtain position, influence, or standing.

It starts in the church nursery or childcare facilities for the very young. There can be a basket of toys, all good, fun, clean, and colorful. One toy is garnered by Baby Chris and quickly Baby Sam decides he must have that very toy. None else will do. The others have all lost their interest. The two little ones engage in a tussel for that one toy until a worker must intervene and make a decision. The common situation often ends in great tears of emotion and unhappiness.

Both toddlers were acting greedy about the toy. In reality, the toy wasn’t rightfully either child’s personal possession. It most likely belonged to the church or center, but little Chris and Sam both wanted it and determined to have it. Well trained adults discourage greed and other bad, hurtful behavior from an early age.

Sadly, this scene plays out in different settings for much of some people’s lives. They seem to be continually engaged in being or acting greedy – Desiring the things belonging to others. Much of their time and energy is devoted to plotting and planning just how they can get more or better for themselves.

It is ugly. It is certainly not the way to living a happy life. It is uncomfortable and often hurtful. The Bible warns against it and defines it clearly as a sin. Proverbs 15:27 teaches that he that is greedy of gain troubles his own house.

We see greed all around us. Our children see it. Our employees and coworkers see it in the workplace. Our schools see it. Our civic organizations and community affairs experience the damaging effects of greed, and perhaps most alarming of all, our churches must contend with it as well.

Much has been written and studied over the years about avarice or greed, and experts generally agree that there are clear warning signs and habits that denote a greedy individual. Their typical behavior is overly self-centered. Greedy folks tend to think and say, “Me, me, me.” Envy and greed are evil twins. “I don’t have it. You do. I want it.” Some add the thinking, “You owe it to me.” A truly greedy person is seldom concerned about the feelings of others. He is so lost in his own selfish cocoon that he really doesn’t care.

Personal observation has taught me that a greedy person is seldom ever satisfied. They want more and more and often become experts at manipulation. The old ego must be stoked often to provide temporary happiness and acclaim. Boundaries are foreign to a person driven by greed and must be set by others to help avoid conflict and ensure fair treatment.

Think about it. Are we greedy in our thoughts or actions?

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788, or
[email protected]


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