Sunday, June 2, 2013

What Does The Bible Say About Greed

Is greed a harmless human behavior? Is it an acceptable motivation for getting ahead in life?

"But I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, or an idolater or slanderer, or drunkard, or swindler. Do not even eat with such people." 1 Corinthians 5:11. NIV.

The Apostle Paul writes the young church to encourage them to live pure and holy lives as is worthy of Christ. In doing so he admonishes the members of the church to avoid certain people. These people were those who claimed to be believers in the faith but lived lives that said otherwise.

The list of those the faithful were to avoid was the things that would corrupt and undermine the church. The list included...
  • Idolatry which makes obvious sense. 
  • The sexually immoral would be completely against the moral teaching of the church. 
  • We all know how bad slander is in a community. 
  • And drunkards are generally bad news.
  • A greedy person.
  • The swindler, this is the thief.
Strange that the list of people we should avoid is shared by greed and swindler. This puts greed on the same level as adultery, drunkenness, or thievery. It should warn us if we are prone to greed that we are engaging in an attitude the Bible puts on the same level as idolatry.

The closing words of the verse, "do not even eat with such people." may refer to the act of communion or the intimacy of the community. To not associate with someone is not to be rude to them but to not get involved in a business or close friendship with such person.

Nor should we be such a person.