By Mrs. Esther Ogunbayeje.
“And he said to them, take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. Then He spoke a parable to them, saying, the ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, what shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops? So he said, I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, soul you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry. But God said to him. Fool! This night your soul will be required of you, then whose will those things be which you have provided? So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:15-21
This is the spirit of self-centredness. The spirit to satisfy one’s ego, desire, interest etc. with no or due consideration for others. A self-centred person is always thinking of self without regard for others. A self-centred persons cares less about causing harm or injury to another person all for personal gain.
The spirit of self-centredness and uncaring attitude pervades the society nowadays whereby everyone feels that everybody owes him something. People care less about what happens to the other person- this also happens in the Church (Phil 2: 4).
We can all learn from the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12:15-24. There is no sin in being diligent or in being prosperous but there is danger in greed, selfishness and in not being rich toward God through others. All the thoughts of the rich man were towards himself- nothing for God or others. God does not bless His children for themselves alone but to reach out to others and to use the blessing for the expansion of His kingdom.
God has blessed every individual with one blessing or the other with which such individual can reach out to other people within his /her influence. God is not wicked. He has blessed us with what we can use to impact ourselves. Life is such that no one has it all even the rich has needs. Life is such that what one lacks the other has sufficiently or abundantly. We are created in a way to be blessings to ourselves and the kingdom of God. But selfishness and greed can prevent us from doing this.
Life is about giving. God prospers us to help others to prosper. God loves the world, He demonstrated it by giving Jesus to the world. And with Jesus, he freely gives others things. John 3:16 and Romans 8:32. God has shown us good example to follow, to be a giver rather than being miserly. Giving does not exclude anyone. Each member of the family has something to offer for the progress and success of the family. Each member of a church has responsibilities towards the prosperity of the whole church and each member of a community or nation has something to give to make the community a better place.
Why greed and self-centredness?
Personal responsibilities- Needs to be met e.g. the basic needs of housing, food, and bill payment etc.
Pressure from extended families, friends, and work etc.
Time constrain- having so much to do within the limited time.
Self-ego- The desire to outshine others and love to show off what one has acquired which others do not have.
Extravagant lifestyle- love of pleasure and party.
Stinginess- not having the spirit of giving, even when one has in abundance etc.
Effect of greed and self-centredness
We might give excuse for selfishness but that does not justify it. Self-centredness is a bane. It is a disease that must be cured as it negatively affects relationships (not only in the home or church but in the society at large), it leads to lack of consideration (lack of love and care), it also leads to deceit, killing and oppression etc. Some homes are in chaos today as a result of the self-centredness of one of the members of the family. There are problems in some countries today because of lack of thoughtfulness and uncaring attitude of the leaders. The citizens are in poverty as a result of corruption, nepotism and oppression. But God condemns greed and self-centredness.
We must take note of these points:
Without having others in our thoughts, giving becomes a burden, serving others become despicable.
Greed is a deceitful way of life. No one can have the whole world. We must check history and learn from those that have gone before, the whole world is not for an individual, each person has got only a portion of it before he/she exits and leaves it for others.
Waiting for a convenient time or for the time that one has amassed the whole earth treasure before giving to others is a misconception because each phase or stage of increase comes with its problems or challenges and needs which crave for attendance. Unless we learn to give where we are (at the level we are) we’ll never give.
No one’s life is kept by the abundance of what is amassed. Luke 2:15.
It is better to be rich towards God and others. Anything can happen to the amassed wealth. There could be economic depression or crash, armed robbers attack or disaster that can scatter all the accumulated riches etc.
People throughout generations commend, celebrate and commemorate givers
Giving to others bring increase and God’s blessing. A little thoughtfulness from all of us will make the society a better place for everybody.
Examples of selfless givers are: Abraham, the widow of Zarepath, the woman of Shunem, Jesus and Mother Teresa etc. We can be more thoughtful of others in our giving, service to God and humanity, prayer, and in caring etc.
Conclusively, life is not about an individual. A good life is the one that impact and enrich others positively. A good life is the one that makes life meaningful and worthy of living for others. A good and a celebrated life is the one that makes the world a better place for others. Let us be rich towards God and others instead of being greedy and selfish.
Ogunbayeje sent this piece from United Kingdom