Avarice/Greed is an excessive love of or desire for money
and any possession money can buy. ~Glittering Vices, p. 100
Avarice is not just about having more,
it’s about what is mine. ~Glittering Vices, p. 104
In both our giving and our getting, greed corrodes the virtue of generosity
and leads us to ignore the claims of justice. ~Glittering Vices, p. 101
The mark of generosity is the not the size of the gift, or the wealth of the giver,
but the readiness to give what one does have to God. ~Glittering Vices, p. 103
Questions for Reflection
- Do we possess our possessions, or are we possessed by them?
– Are we anxious or afraid that we will not have enough?
– Do we live as though there is not enough for ourselves and for others?
- Imagine that others had full access to all of our financial records and spending habits, but knew nothing else about us.
– What would they learn about us and what is important to us?
– What sorts of judgments could they make about our character, our loves, our excesses and our deficiencies
- How many hours a week do we spend thinking about acquiring or buying things (i.e. making shopping lists, going to the mall, browsing catalogs, working over-time, watching home- or self-improvement shows on TV)
– Are feelings of frustration or depression alleviated by temporarily by buying something for ourselves?
– Does earning more money or acquiring more things create a renewed sense of power over our lives?
- How do we give?
– Do we take care of ourselves first and then give from what’s leftover?
– In what ways do we resist giving our money or possessions away? Why is it so hard?
– Is our giving done begrudgingly or out of a sense of joy and thanksgiving?
Practices to Resist Avarice and Live Generosity
- Ground Yourself in Good News
– Matthew 6:19-34
– 1 Timothy 6:17-19
- Look at how you spend money.
– Document all expenditures for a month and organize into categories (savings, food, entertainment, house expenses, car expenses, etc.).
– Highlight purchases that you could have done without (wants vs. needs).
– How much is enough?
- Take a Sabbath rest from consumerism.
– For one week or month, refrain from going to the mall, browsing catalogs and magazines, buying anything you don’t need for basic survival, and limit exposure to advertising.
– How does this make you feel? What resources of time and energy does this free up for other endeavors?
- Tithe – give money away every week and give your best.
– Tithing first, and spending on ourselves later, is a discipline that teaches God’s ownership of all good things and trust in his provisions, as well as stewardship of goods that does not put ourselves first. (GV, p. 114)
For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.
1 Chronicles 29:14