Thursday, September 23, 2010

Giving is Good

The venal Gordon Gekko of Wall Street infamously quipped that “greed is good”. Our acquisitive society agrees. Covetousness makes the world go round. Advertising plays on our desire to accumulate more and more stuff, whether we need it or not. Towards the end of his acute analysis of our current financial woes in his book, Who Runs Britain?, Robert Peston makes an astonishing statement worthy of Gekko himself, "It may not be pretty but, on the whole, greed is good". However, the credit crunch was in part caused by the covetousness of city slickers who took huge risks for quick, easy and lucrative returns.

The problem with greed is that it fails to recognise that material things such as food, clothing and housing are not ours by right. They are God's gifts to us. When we see material goods as gifts rather than simply possessions, the appropriate response is gratitude rather than greed. With Job we will learn to accept without resentment that what the Lord gives, he can also take away, Job 1:21.

Regarding our material wealth as a gift will also enable us to defy the impulse towards greed by prompting us to share with others what the Lord has graciously given to us. For Christians the watchword is not, "greed is good", but "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35). In other words, "Giving is good".

At this time of year many churches hold Harvest Services, an opportunity to give thanks to God and share what he has given to us with others. Yesterday Sarah and I delivered some Harvest leaflets around the delightful village of Great Cheverell, near West Lavington, Wiltshire. Delivering leaflets in a rural setting is a great way of keeping fit, enjoying the countryside, and spreading the gospel at the same time. On Friday evening I'll be off to Newhouse Baptist Church in Devon to speak at at Harvest Supper. See here for our Harvest celebrations.  Harvest Time is a good opportunity remembering that,

All good gifts around us
Are sent from heaven above;
Then thank the Lord,
O thank the Lord,
For all his love.

* An edited version of his post was written for October's  News & Views, West Lavington parish magazine.

No comments: