12 May “8 CHOICES” Spring-Summer Study – Lesson 2 “The Money Trap”
Hey there, sisters! We are only 2 chapter into this study and I already feel the “change” coming!! You too? This book is not as harmless as it appears!
OK, I’m just gonna go ahead and throw myself under the bus and cushion the blow for the rest of y’all who might have come to the same conclusion; I’m greedy. Oh, I was doing real well with this lesson until Jill flashed the Webster’s definition that included this: “greed is…a desire for more than one needs or deserves…” (p. 32) and then added to that, “Greed produces and addiction… a craving… a hunger…” for many things including, “…beauty aids, books, CDs, or outlet shopping!”
True confessions: I own 28 tubes of lipstick and lip gloss. Yes, I counted them all tonight because I know that is one of my little, greedy issues. Lipstick… and pens. I have a pen fetish; writing implements thrill me to no end (my husband is a pen/pencil junkie, too). Actually, it’s an addiction to office supplies in general. See how insidious this greed thing is?????
So, I’ve decided that I don’t like this book. Just kidding. Kinda.
The truth is that the Truth hurts, as it is supposed to. Hurts in a way that makes me say, “OK, Lord, can we just yank this one out by the roots and PUH-LEEZ move on to something a little less… stinky?” I recently read a book and attended an event on insecurity and I totally own that one! And now greed? Yes, let’s just strip down and bare it all, Punk!! If there’s anybody out there feeling the same please feel free to jump right in on the blog and let me know. Vulnerability loves company!
Back to the lesson: There is something I want to point out. I’m not picking here, but I do think it makes a tremendous difference in how we interpret this lesson. On page 47 Jill quotes I Timothy 6:10 saying, “It is the love of money, not money itself that is the ‘root of all kinds of evil.” However, the verse is actually written, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” A root, not the root. The point is that the love of money is just one kind of root that leads to evil or godlessness; but it is not the only root. More importantly, I think, is to understand where this root system is stemming from. So let’s dig a little deeper here.
Jesus reminded us of God’s command to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). It doesn’t take long to figure out that the heart of the matter of the “Money Trap” that leads to greed is a matter of the heart. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” Our hearts, under the influence of greed, wants, and selfish desire will follow unfit lovers that will surely lead us astray because greed is a seductress, calling to us like the sirens of Greek mythology.
Greed calls out, “You need me! You deserve me! You can’t live without me!” (Love of comfort)
Greed calls out, “I’ll make you feel better!” (Love of pleasure)
Greed calls out, “I’ll make you feel loved!” (Love of human love and affection)
Greed calls, “I’ll make you beautiful!” (Love of self)
Greed calls, “I’ll make you popular!” (Love of attention and glory)
Greed… opens a trap door that leads to a dead end. As the real Wall Street has so tragically revealed, greed is not good; not good at all.
Let’s look at a passage of Scripture that speaks to the point I want to make. Read the words of Jeremiah 2:13:
“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
The Lord lets us know from the start that His people have committed “two sins”:
1- They have forsaken God, who is the spring of living water
2- They’ve dug their own cisterns that are cracked and can’t hold water
A cistern is basically a small well or pit in the ground that collected rain water or water that seeped into it from the ground. Imagine it sitting there for several hours on a hot afternoon, or a couple of days, and then drawing a big pail full of it to satisfy your thirst. OK, can we just say, “GROSS OUT?”
When our greedy, needy hearts seek other “lovers” to satisfy us in ways only God can, we sin. Period. And the trap is that those other lovers will not and cannot ever satisfy us because our hearts contain a God-shaped void that only God can fill with Himself (the spring of living water). Over time we’ll need those unfit lovers more and more, but they will satisfy us less and less. But God has the answer to what our hearts and souls long for because God IS the answer.
So, how do we start? I believe it starts with changing our minds, which then changes our hearts, and that leads to a changed life.
My husband always says that, “Materialism is not what you have, it’s what has you”; I’ll go deeper and say that it’s what has your heart! Alright then, let’s deal with that. If we want to change our heart we’ve got to take a realistic look at our lives and our lifestyles and start thinking differently about ourselves, our money, and our stuff.
Just today I “Shazamed” a song in the car on my iPhone. It’s called “Live Like We’re Dying” and it’s sung by last year’s American Idol winner, Kris Allen. It reminded me of the time immediately after I received my breast cancer diagnosis one year ago; John, wanting to help get my mind off of my circumstances, drove us out to the outlet mall to shop around. I remember walking into stores and just standing there staring, feeling no pull to purchase whatsoever and thinking, “What am I doing here? What do I want with any of this stuff?”
And I guess that’s really the point and the lesson; when faced with our mortality, what is really important becomes very, very, very clear. As the song goes, “Our hearts are hungry for a food that won’t come; and we could make a feast from these crumbs… So if your life flashed before you, what would you wish you would’ve done?… Gotta live like we’re dying. We’ve only got 86,400 seconds in a day to turn it all around or to throw it all away… Gotta live like we’re dying…”
Discuss in your small groups, and/or on the blog comments, the following questions and the “Challenge” below:
1) How much of my life is made up of the temporal vs. the eternal?
2) If a journalist were to come into your home and follow you around for one full week, what would they report that you were “wealthy” in? What would they find you to be “greedy” over?
3) What is your “greed issue” revealing to you about your heart? Any unfit lovers lurking there?
Jill told us that one sure way to break the stronghold our stuff has on us is to start giving it away. Money, clothes, trinkets, cars… GIVE it away. Don’t sell it on Craig’s list or take it to a consignment shop. In Genesis 12:3 God told Abraham that he was blessed and he would be a blessing to many. Likewise, you and I have been blessed to be a blessing. So – my challenge for you this week is one I’ve learned from my friend, and partner in the Gospel, Mary Clayton Wood, who challenges women to give their things away. I warn you that it will not be easy, but it will set you free… freer than you’ve ever been, from your stuff, and will clear the clutter from your heart!
Over the next week, any time someone complements you on something you have, something you’re wearing, carrying, have in your home, etc… I want you to give it to them and do not buy another to replace it. Give it to them on the spot if you can, but if it is something you are wearing, go home and launder it, or empty it out, and take it to them ASAP. (OK, breathe, girls, breathe!)
Seek out someone who has a need and meet it with something you already have… and do not buy another to replace it.
Comment on the blog briefly about what you did, but more importantly, how it made you feel.
OK… we can do this, friends, we can do this! If generosity is the antidote to greed, then let’s get generous! Learn to “deaccumulate” (is that really a word) your life and you’ll deaccumulate your heart!
I can’t wait to hear from you on this! Praying you are filled to overflowing joy with everything you release from your grip! Your heart will sing, “Free at last!”