My Greedy, Needy Heart

Via Flickr user mdanys. Used under Creative Commons License.

Your mother first noticed it when you were about 18 months old — on the playground one day, you saw another child, and his toy caught your eye. That toy looked awesome. Sure, you had a toy too. But all the sudden, your toy wasn’t enough to satisfy you.  You wanted that toy. So you walked over to your little friend and snatched it. If he put up a fight, you pushed, pulled and yelled until you had it in your tiny, grubby little hands. And so you embarrassed and horrified your mother, because your greedy, needy heart had just left another toddler crying in the sand.

The overt signs didn’t last too long. Through some spankings, time-outs and harsh words from your parents, you learned to share, to say please and thank you, to generally be a good kid. Socialization taught you that nobody likes the little girl who takes things away from others. So your behavior changed. But did your heart?

As you grew up, you learned that if you worked, you could get stuff; the harder you worked, the more stuff you could get. And getting stuff was a good thing. You got a job, earned some money, and used that to buy more stuff. First, it was stuff you needed. Then it was stuff you wanted. Soon, it became a pursuit of stuff, just for stuff’s sake. You want the best stuff, and you want to be sure that everyone else knows that you are the king of the local stuff hill.

Greed is perhaps the most obvious way that money can make slaves of us. The roots of greed go deep — all the way back to that toddler throwing his weight around on the playground. And though you may not be tempted to rip something shiny out of a friend’s hand anymore, that evil, greedy corner of your heart will continue to cause you problems in life if you don’t deal with it.

We should be careful with our terms here. Greed is not the same as ambition, nor is someone who works hard, gathers wealth and makes it grow necessarily greedy. God makes it plain in the Bible that he wants us to accumulate wealth, and he wants us to do a lot of things with it (more on that later). But if we work and strive to build wealth for our own purposes instead of His, that becomes greedy.

Greed works hand in hand with pride (we want everyone to see how much stuff we’ve got), and with selfishness (we’re willing to hurt others to get what we want). The big problem arises when our greedy hearts cause us to hurt or shortchange people that we care about, or when we treat people in an ungodly way in our quest to gather and consume. You may have a kind and sensitive heart, and genuinely care about other people. But if you wrong them in your greed, your good side has lost control, and the dark side has won. Greed has controlled you. Money has made you a slave.

The Bible has a lot to say about greed, and the results are never good: it leads to conflict, destruction and ruin. In the end, if we don’t deal with our greed, God will deal with it Himself. And trust me, you don’t want that.

Up next: Just because you’re poor doesn’t mean you’re not a slave.

(Scripture study for this post: Proverbs 28:25, 29:4, 15:27, Isaiah 57:17, Ephesians 5:5. For more verses on greed, click here.)


  1. […] Post navigation Next → […]

  2. […] Post navigation ← Previous […]

  3. […] easy to find evidence of how the world’s financial thinking can lead to greed, poverty, debt and slavery. So what’s the alternative? Well, God has a plan for your […]

  4. […] want to acquire as much money as possible, in order to amass a large collection of stuff the way a greedy heart does. Rather, stinginess clings white-knuckled to the money it already has. Collecting more is a […]

  5. […] of this money and information. The more money we make, the more we want to make — it has an intoxicating effect like that. And in the information age, where we are obsessed with the lifestyles of rockstars and […]

  6. […] happen. If you see yourself as a big-shot because of your big bank account, you risk turning into a greedy hooligan that nobody really wants to be around. If you see yourself as a nobody because you […]

  7. […] makes slaves of us in subtle ways. We can fall in to debt, become greedy, develop stingy hearts, or live our lives in a psychological state of poverty. Sometimes, that […]

  8. […] in charge of the possessions entrusted to us, but if we become too attached to them, we can become greedy or stingy. And things just get uglier from […]

  9. […] wealth is not to sit on the biggest pile of cash at the end of life — that’s just greed. Rather, God wants us to have wealth that can be passed on as inheritance to future […]

  10. […] slave of you. In sneaky and pernicious ways, money takes hold of our hearts, making us captives to greed, debt, poverty, insecurity and other bondage. If we’re not careful, we can wake up one day to […]

  11. […] Sometimes people experience windfalls or unexpected blessings, and that’s great for them. But the only surefire way to grow wealth, according to this scripture, is to gather it “little by little.” You can’t build a successful financial future on the hopes of striking it rich off of one good investment, and you can’t expect to build wealth without working hard for it. When someone promises us quick gain, they’re not being realistic with us — they’re just appealing to our greed. And greed is not a sound financial strategy. […]

  12. […] talked in theory about a lot of the ways that money can make you a slave: greed, stinginess, envy, debt and the like. But it’s also instructive to study the lives of people […]

  13. […] believe there are two things at play here: Greed and pride. It was greed that compelled these two to hold back some of the money for themselves. The church at that time was […]

  14. […] wealth and material possessions are tricky — if we’re not careful, things like greed, debt, envy and discontentment can make slaves of us. In this series, we’ve seen how some of […]

  15. […] this site talking about the ways that money can make slaves of us. Some of them are obvious. like greed, selfishness, envy and poverty. Others are more subtle, like false identity and  sinful […]

  16. […] the wrong financial attitudes that can bind us up in slavery. A thankful heart isn’t stingy, greedy or envious. Thankfulness is the antidote to discontentment, and  frees us from false identity, […]

  17. […] many ways large and small, money can make slaves of us. Greed is one of the most obvious ways to become a money slave, but there are plenty of others. For each […]

  18. […] are all sorts of ways that money can make slaves of us — debt, selfishness, greed, envy, etc. — and that slavery can stand in the way of us living the lives that God has […]

  19. […] are money slaves. They may be in debt up to their eyeballs, or perhaps they’re consumed with greed. Maybe they spend so much money on a good-looking lifestyle that they have nothing left to give or […]

  20. […] can make slaves of us in all sorts of ways. It’s not just greed or debt that trap us in financial slavery: Anytime money warps our thoughts, attitudes or […]

  21. […] the Israelites who disobeyed demonstrated is the attitude that today we call greed. They mistook God’s perfect provision for a commodity that they could use for their own gain. […]

  22. […] us, and we’ve studied many of the different ways that this can happen. Some are obvious, like greed and debt. Others are more subtle, like the slavery of discontentment or false expectations. Pride […]

  23. […] human life, money has an overwhelming capacity for making slaves of us. Some people are slaves to greed, envy, or poverty. Other times the slavery is more subtle: We can be slaves to our jobs, slaves to […]

  24. […] we meet Ebeneezer Scrooge, a miserly old man whose last name has become synonymous with greed and selfishness. Though he wasn’t always a wretched person, Scrooge has become a slave to […]

  25. […] us in so many ways. Oftentimes, this happens without us being aware of it. We can become slaves to greed, slaves to poverty, slaves to debt and even slaves to other people’s expectations regarding […]

Leave a Reply

Copyright Brian Jewell, 2011-2018

All of the contents of this site and its posts are copyright of Brian Jewell. Any redistribution or duplication of this material, without the consent of the author, is strictly prohibited. Instead, please feel free to link to us. Thanks!


All content on this site is given on a general basis and is intended for informational use only. The content does not reflect any professional legal, investing, accounting or tax advice, and should not be used as the sole basis for making financial decisions. Always consult a certified financial professional before investing.
%d bloggers like this: