We've been doing a study on the 7 deadly sins in my Sunday school class at church (Sinning Like A Christian by William Willimon). Today's sin of the week was greed. We got into some interesting discussion about what greed is really all about.
It's easy to define greed as wanting more and more and more; as in never being satisfied. Likewise, its opposite is being satisfied, not to mention grateful, for what you have. Yet an interesting question arose. If I am a "practical" girl who tends to shop at Target and thrift stores, do I still qualify as greedy? I mean, if I have the means to buy just about anything, but I choose instead to buy something that is "good enough" instead of trendy and expensive, am I still greedy?
It's easy for me to shun expensive cars or $400 purses. That's not how I choose to spend my money. But if I rarely deny myself anything, aren't I just as greedy as the next person whose credit cards are maxed out to the hilt?
When was the last time I told myself "no" to a practical, cheap purchase. I have a couple thrift stores I like to frequent and sometimes I tell myself, "How can you NOT buy an $8 skirt?" Yet maybe saying "no" to myself regardless of the bargain is an important spiritual practice.
If I get the same little thrill from my $10 "resale" sandals with the cute silver buckles as someone buying Jimmie Choos, what's the difference?
I have to admit ... I can be greedy. No, I am greedy. I have more clothes and shoes than I need. I have more food in my cupboard and fridge than I need and we eat meat at nearly every meal. We have five cars (and four drivers at the moment), one that doesn't even run, but we just can't bear to part with it. We keep our AC cool and our showers hot. We water our yard to supplement the drought with drinking water ... can you fathom how outrageous that is to the majority of the rest of the world??
Willimon states in the chapter on greed that we need to learn to say, "enough." How can you NOT buy an $8 skirt? By not buying it, that's how. Give it all away, and don't run out and replace it all with new stuff. Make do ... and experience "want" a little ... just a little.
Practical is nice, but greed ... well, it's really not OK.