Watch Out! By Julian Archer
Summary: Earth provides enough to satisfy everyone’s need, not everyone’s greed.
Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was the leader of a cartel that controlled up to 80 percent of the world’s cocaine sales. His brother Roberto was one of the cartel’s accountants, and author of the book, Escobar: The Untold Story of the World’s Most Powerful Criminal. In it, Roberto reveals, “Pablo was earning so much that each year we’d write off 10 percent of the money because rats would eat it in storage or it would be damaged by water or lost.” Some sources claim that Escobar’s annual 10 percent ‘tithe-for-the-rats’ was more than a billion dollars!
Jesus once said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy.” I think Jesus might have known a few greedy people in His day. Luke 12:13-21 tells Jesus’ parable of the rich fool, and it’s not pretty:
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or arbiter between you?” Then Jesus said to them, “Watch out!”
I love the way the NIV makes it sound like the crowd is about to be squashed by an out-of-control bus. It’s like Jesus has just seen a raging bull running at them, and He yells, “Watch out! Run for your lives!” He’s giving a serious warning here, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Again, Jesus is using strong words to warn people about the deceptive powers of greed. I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who considers themselves to be greedy. We might sometimes label ourselves as selfish or self-centered, but not greedy. 'Greedy' is such an ugly word.
However, when I honestly look at my personal consumption levels of food, fuels, energy, consumer goods, and so on, and my nation’s per capita consumption levels compared to other nations, it’s hard to find a more accurate word than greedy.
If my lifestyle is so highly consumptive that the planet would be destroyed if the whole of earth’s population were to live like me, then I’m ‘eating’ more than my fair share of the pie—and that’s greedy.
It has been well said that, “Earth provides enough to satisfy everyone’s need but not everyone’s greed.” I certainly need to “Watch out!” and be on my guard—against all kinds of greed.
Today, society leads us up to a high place and shows us all the riches and comforts of the world, and sadly we often respond like little children saying, “I want it, I want it, I want it!” Many people have already stored up far more than they need, but they’re addicted to “Just a little bit more.”
Christ’s statement in Matthew 6:19 and 21 was not just a suggestion, it was a command: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth ... for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (NKJV). Jesus didn’t start his sentence with, “I think it would be best if you don’t ...” or, “ things might go better if you try not to ...”. He said, “DO NOT lay up for yourselves treasures on earth ...”. And why not? Because where your treasure is, your heart is. If your treasure’s on earth, then so is your heart. And that’s not a good thing.
Praise God for the old hymn that says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
Julian Archer is the author of Help! I've Been Blessed! He writes from Queensland, Australia. www.faith-vs-finance.org