Escape Greed Through Giving
Generosity is God’s antidote for the selfishness that can control our lives.
Ebeneezer Scrooge learned it the hard way: The only way to escape greed is by learning to give.
It took one seriously unpleasant Christmas Eve for Scrooge to realize how much his greed had come to control his life, and how much of an impact it was having on the people around him. Once he finally saw his error, he understood that the best way to escape from greed was to give. And so the final scenes of “A Christmas Carol” are all about generosity.
Giving is the antidote to greed. tweet this!In 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 of these heart diseases, though, there is a cure. And giving is the antidote to greed.
Greed Starts in Your Heart
When we talk about money, the discussion usually centers around numbers. But the financial problems in our lives rarely come from accounting errors; money slavery is a matter of the heart. To fix these issues, we have to address things at the heart level. Escaping slavery isn’t just a matter of doing something different — it’s about creating new habits that change the attitudes of the heart.
Greed seeks to reap what it did not sow, to acquire what it did not earn, to control what it did not create. tweet this!So it goes with greed. Greed is that most basic of all money problems, but its scope is much broader than money. You were greedy as a toddler, before you ever knew what money was. You can be greedy with money, certainly, but you can also be greedy with your time, your possessions and even your relationships. Have you ever met someone who was only able to talk about themselves? That, in its own way, is greed.
At its heart, greed is simply the compulsion to take: take money, take things, take attention, etc. Greed wants to own, to hoard, to control. Greed seeks to reap what it did not sow, to acquire what it did not earn, to control what it did not create.
To escape greed, we have to reverse this heart attitude. The best way is to practice habits that run contrary to this reflex. And nothing is more contrary to taking than giving. If you want to escape greed, start by becoming a great giver.
Escape Greed by Practicing Generosity
How does giving free you from greed? It changes the focus of your heart’s attention. A greedy heart is focused on self, and acquiring as much money and influence as it can. But giving forces you to look outside yourself.
When you give to a someone, you are focusing on that person and their needs instead of your own. When you give to an organization, you’re paying attention to the good work that the organization does. And when you intentionally look for opportunities and places to give, your heart is constantly stretching beyond itself for the next giving target.
Just like an addictive drug changes your brain, giving changes your heart. tweet this!Now here’s the catch: When you first start, it’s not going to be easy. After all, giving runs contrary to the orientation of your hear. At first, giving might feel totally wrong. But soon, you’ll discover the truth that the Bible has taught for centuries: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Like any antidote, giving is a drug, and one that can become addictive. Once you start giving, you realize that it feels really good, and you want to give more. The more often you give, the more often you want to give. You eagerly look for opportunities to give. Before you know it, you’re hooked on giving. And just like an addictive drug changes your brain, giving changes your heart.
The path from greed to giving may not be easy, but it is certainly rewarding. At one end lies a bitter life of slavery; at the other end waits a kind and generous heart. Let Scrooge’s life be a lesson to you: The only way to escape greed is to start giving.