by Ed Price
Greed is not only an historical fact, it is a way of life for some.
Back in the early part of the 20th century, for instance, inventor Thomas A. Edison held most of the patents for the photographing and projecting motion pictures. At first, he wanted all the spoils for himself and fought tooth and nail in the courts to prevent other producers from making competing films. When legal warfare proved too financially draining, he and ten of the biggest film producers formed the Motion Pictures Patents Company, or "The Trust". It was truly an organization fueled by greed.
The Trust delegated unto itself the exclusive licensing of producers (i.e., themselves) to make films and theaters (for a substantial weekly fee over and above film rentals) to show their pictures. No one else was allowed to produce or exhibit movies, and Edison and his associates hired strong-arm toughs to rough up independents who defied "The Trust". Finally, government trust-busters stepped in and broke up the organization. Within ten years all the trust companies -- with the exception of Vitagraph who was in receivership and about to be sold to the Warner brothers -- were out of business.
That was then, and this is now.
In the past 15 years, with the rise of the personal computer and the astounding growth of the internet, we have witnessed barefaced greed that would stun a saint. One company, for instance, wants all the internet business and will go to any lengths to get it -- even to the point of hacking the computers of its competitors. A software company spends millions upon millions of dollars in court to stymie the the efforts of competing companies -- some offering much better products -- from making inroads into the market. Immense personal fortunes (as well as fantastic amounts of power) hang in the balance.
The result of this economic free-for-all is hardship for the consumer. He must constantly upgrade his software to keep pace. Indeed, even shelling out several thousands of dollars every three or four years for a new computer with more memory, or that is adaptable to the new software, is quite common. Yet, upgrades continue to be installed and new and more powerful computers are purchased. There seems no end in sight and greed marches on unchallenged.
The Scriptures are filled with examples of greed and its consequences. Way back in Isaiah's time, for instance, it was Israel's leaders who sacrificed the good of their own people in the name of greed. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. (Isaiah 56:11)
Jesus warned against greed. And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. (Luke 12:15)
And there is also the last of the Ten Commandments, given by God to Moses on Sinai. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's. (Exodus 20:17)
The good life has nothing to do with being wealthy or having more possessions. In fact, greed is harmful to spiritual well-being. Greed's rewards are anxiety and pressure. Greed sets a person to scheming how to increase what they already have, instead of thanking God for what he has given them. Greed is totally self-serving.
Are you content with what you have or do you insist on much more? Has God filled your needs, or do you think the world can do a better job? Are you lifting up your resources and replacing God with greed as the center of your life? Is wealth your only reality?
God gives his children riches beyond their wildest dreams, not the least of which is peace. God selflessly sacrificed his own Son so that we could have that peace. Through Christ's death on the cross, we enjoy well-being, restoration and reconciliation with God. In that, my friends, we are infinitely richer than the richest man in the world. And we don't have to constantly fuel our greed day after day to maintain our status.
Real riches are a free gift. We have the assurance of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. With that promise firmly in our purses, what more could we possibly need.
---©2001 Ed Price. From 'The Loving Heart' (http://www.thelovingheart.net)
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