Discerning Between Greed and Giving - Sunday December 21, 2014
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV
These verses give two lists of contrasting emotions. They are written in the middle of the description of greed and giving in Ephesians 4:17 through 5:20, which we have looked at in the previous two articles. Many times it's obvious what is greed and what is sacrificial giving, but sometimes it can be difficult to discern the difference in real life. That's why God has given us the emotions we see in this list. These emotions are like flashing lights that expose what is really happening on the inside, like lights on the car dashboard that show us what's happening to the engine.
Take for example the time I worked hard for months to prepare a seminar for a group of church leaders. Then when the scheduled time for the seminar came, half of them didn't even show up. My first reaction was to be judgmental and angry at their lack of respect for me. Then the thought came to mind (from the Holy Spirit) that the seminar was not about me, but about them. With this thought, my emotions changed from anger and criticism to compassion and sorrow about what they would miss.
My work on the project was for the purpose of helping others, but I was not free from greed. Thanks to the negative emotion of anger, the Holy Spirit exposed my greed, my desire for respect and honor, and He replaced it with concern for the welfare of the leaders. Emotions can help you discern between greed and giving.
Cornerstone Community Church
Overland Park, Kansas
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SCRIPTURE REFERENCB-ES: Unless otherwise identified, Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible B) The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are from the Holy, Bible, New International Version, copyright B) 1973, 1978, 1984 by InternaB-tional Bible Society; (NKJV) are from New King James Version B) 1982 by Thomas Nelson; (NLT) are from the New Living Translation, B) 1996, Tyndale House Publishers; (ESV) are from English Standard VersionB., B) 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers; (TM) are from The Message B) 1993 by NavPress Publishers.