Hearts trained in greed…some phrases you can’t get out of your head. Our men’s Bible Study is in 2 Peter and this phrase is used in chapter 2 verse 14 to describe false teachers. But there may not be a more apt phrase that would sum up and characterize American Chrisitianity’s biggest problem. Our hearts have been trained in greed.
Most statistics with regard to American consumption (as with many other statistics) would show very little difference between Christians and non-Christians. We are no different from anyone else in the USA when it comes to amassing stuff, consuming and throwing away massive amounts of…everything. Mostly we dismiss this sort of criticism of our lifestyle as irrelevant seeing that it is liberal political and social groups throwing the “criticism” our way. We uncritically join in the consumer mentality, not because it is a Biblical value, rather it is our preferred way of living.
Hearts trained in greed…
Let’s just look at our personal water usage compared to how much water is available to others around the world:
I took a 10 minute hot shower this morning. Let’s say I use 2 gallons per minute, I used 20 gallons of water to take a shower. Now I feel that a hot shower is a necessity, not an option nor a luxury. But in fact, it is a luxury and that luxury is not shared by many people in the world. But if my water heater goes out, replacing the water heater becomes the most important task in my day. Not having water mind you, having hot water.
(Fill out this questionairre by the US Geological Survey to figure your daily water consumption, mine was 59.36 gallons per day. That is personal usage, not what I use to water the lawn etc.)
1.1 billion people (18% of the world’s population) lack access to safe drinking water and almost 2 million children die each year due to a lack of clean water and inadequate sanitation.
Now maybe your answer to that is the pat American response: “I’ll just put my waste water in an envelope and send it to Africa.”…if it is you should be ashamed of yourself.
The phrase in 2 Peter is convicting. We have more, use more, waste more than any other nation in the world, and still have the gall to talk about suffering and complain about our circumstances. The reason we do this is that we have had our hearts trained in greed. The word greed is defined as “the state of desiring to have more than one’s due, greediness, insatiableness, avarice, covetousness” (BDAG Greek Lexicon). “Desiring to have more than one’s due…” Wow, if that doesn’t define us I don’t know what does. Maybe Christians should worry more about our own personal greed than other people’s sexual sins??? I would bet that proportionally sermons in our American churches mentioned homosexuality 1.000% more than they did greed this past Sunday when proportionately the reverse was more represented in the pews.
I am working on evaluating my addiction to greediness in just about every area of my life.