On greed, gratitude, and generosity (part 1).

One place I worked had a copy machine that made copies.

It didn’t sort. It didn’t duplex. It made copies.

And we made a lot of copies. We put together books for people taking classes. We spent a lot of time making copies and putting the books together.

One day we got a new copier.

It would duplex, letting us put pages front and back. It would collate, putting the books together. It would save us a lot of time.

I watched it work and I said, almost right away, “If only it would drill the holes.”

Amazing. A huge significant change and I wanted more.  

The word that we usually take away from that story is “be grateful”.

Lots of people talk about gratitude. We’re invited to list one or 10 or 25 things we are grateful for every day. We know that gratitude changes our outlook.

Gratitude is wonderful.

But the story Jesus is telling today isn’t about gratitude. It’s about greed. And the response to greed isn’t gratitude, it’s generosity.

The story starts with a guy asking Jesus to resolve a family dispute.

“Make him give me my share.”

Jesus resists this request, partially because it’s not really a request for a decision or a conversation. There is no sense that the guy is asking Jesus to help him understand. There is no sense that the brother is doing anything wrong.

It’s more like a playground: Make him share with me.

Jesus warns the man, and the crowd, about the danger of greed.
The desire for more of anything.
The dissatisfaction with what I have.
The false belief that the more I have, the better off I will be. The more I have, the better I will be. The more I have the happier or more influential or more comfortable I will be.

The false belief that my stuff is mine.


The story is from Luke 12:13-21.

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One thought on “On greed, gratitude, and generosity (part 1).

  1. Pingback: Given to me to share. – 300 words a day

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