The Surprising Antidote for Greed

When you look back to the recorded teachings of Jesus in Scripture, you find a surprising number of references to the subject of personal finance. That’s not because Jesus wants our money; it’s certainly not because He needs our money. It’s because Jesus is after our hearts, and He knows that the clearest window into what we truly love, desire and pursue is visible through our bank statements.

Think about it – Jesus could have set up anything as the primary competitor to God in our lives. He could have easily said something like, “You cannot serve both God and power,” or “You cannot serve both God and sex,” but instead He chose money:

“No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money” (Matthew 6:24).

Paul echoed this sentiment in 1 Timothy 6:

If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

If that’s true, and we want to align our hearts with God and the gospel, then it stands to reason that we should be aware of the potential idolatry that comes from the love of money. Not only aware, but on guard. But how do we do that? Though there are many practical ways, the book of Hebrews gives us a surprising one. According to that book, the surprising antidote for greed is the presence of God:

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?” (Heb. 13:5-6).

Now why might that be?

Perhaps the answer comes if we look deeper into the reason why we drift so easily into serving money. Money is, and always has been, more than just a means of purchase; it is the currency of safety, security, and status. As long as there has been money, money has been a ready-made substitute for those things which we are meant to find in God.

When our bank account is full, then we feel safe. When funds are plentiful, we feel secure. And when our balance is busting, we feel important. These are deep, soul level needs common to every human being. And they are also deep, soul level needs that can only ultimately be met in God. Money is, at best, a poor substitute for what we find in God alone.

This is why the writer of Hebrews tells us not only to keep our lives free from the love of money but points us to that which we are using money, whether we know it or not, to compensate for. We are, when we are mired in greed, trusting in our money to keep us safe, secure, and validated instead of finding those things in God alone. This is also why the next part of the passage reminds us that the Lord is our helper.

In Him, we find that no matter what assails us our souls are safe.

In Him, we find that no matter how many circumstances fluctuate in the world, we are secure in Christ.

In Him, we find that no matter what else is taken from us, we find our self-definition in our relationship with God in Christ.

We find these things in God alone, and it’s when we become more cognizant of His constant presence with us that we can turn away from poor substitutes – like money – for what only He can provide.

Subscribe to

Never miss a new post. Subscribe to receive these posts in your inbox and to receive information about new discipleship resources.

You have successfully subscribed. Click here to download your bonus.