What does the Bible say about greed?

Too often when I point out that charity is a personal responsibility, not the responsibility of government, I am attacked for my lack of compassion.

Is the charge true? I suppose it is. If Jesus is our model, I certainly cannot match his compassion. All I can do is study the Bible, consider that I am commanded to love my neighbor, and wonder how I am supposed to do that.

What am I called upon to do? These days that too often begins by understanding the difference between greed and charity.

When government redistributes our wealth, we call it charity, but it does not qualify as charity. It has more to do with greed. When government runs anything, we see:
1. A huge waste of money. This is always the case when people spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. Because charity comes from the heart and we see the suffering of those who lack, out of charity we abhor waste.
2. Displays of greed. Various constituencies are always forming striving to concoct ways to tap the wealth of the Federal treasury for personal benefit. Hence, government “charity” is more akin to thievery than charity.

You want to see a huge hissy fit? Threaten the sanctity of an “entitlement” program.


There are many warnings in the Bible about giving in to greed and longing for riches. Jesus warned, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal… You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:19 and 24). Did Jesus pursue the acquisition of money? No. On the contrary, He became poor for our sake (2 Corinthians 8:9) and had “no place to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). The only disciple concerned with wealth was the embezzler Judas, who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

Greed and a desire for riches are traps that bring ruin and destruction. “The love of money is a…

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11 thoughts on “What does the Bible say about greed?

  1. Wow. I generally don’t comment on religious aspects because each person must define their own way in having spirituality in their lives. But besides that, most of the posters on this blog are far more theologically knowledgeable than I am. But I am lost in this “debate” you are having between charity and greed when I see them as two entirely different traits, or attributes. If that is the case then you need to add guilt in there… because guilt is both a cause and effect of charity and greed, not to mention the motivation behind most religions.

    I dunno… not my discussion. I’m not as deep into the spiritual. I tend to embrace my humanity rather than constantly fight against it.


    1. Charity and greed may be opposite in nature, but much of humanity has no trouble pretending that what they call “charity” is not actually a manifestation of greed. Politicians are in fact sales people, and some them have no trouble trying to make us believe things that are not true.

      Are government provided health, education, and welfare programs charity or manifestations of greed.

      Consider what insanitybytes22 said above in her comment about “charity”. “Charity” is actually the old fashioned word for “love.” Over time the definition changed what we see today. When people provide charity, they do so out of love. Government programs have little to do with love. Politicians use health, education, and welfare programs to buy votes. Look what happened in Greece, for example, when the government cut back. Welfare recipients rioted. They coveted the money they were getting and felt robbed. That is not the attitude of people receiving charity.

      It is in the nature of humanity to covet what others have, be it their looks, health, talents or money. Politicians, when they have the power, will capitalize on our greed by taxing some people and using their dough to buy votes. What sneaky politicians usually do is tax the middle class and give the money of the middle class to the poor.

      What about the rich? Don’t politicians tax the rich? No. To protect themselves, the rich buy off politicians with campaign donations.


  2. Something I like to keep in mind about greed and charity, is that “charity” is actually the old fashioned word for “love.” Unlike the modern definition, it really has very little to do with money at all. Charity has come to mean a monetary donation, when in fact the bible calls us to much more than that. We are called to love. Love requires much more than simply writing a check and being done with it.

    The government is a very ineffective way of practicing Christian charity, in part because someone receiving food stamps for example,is not really feeling the love, they are feeling either cast out and rejected or else entitled to a hand out as a way of life. Both states of being are evidence of not being loved properly, be it from upbringing,culture,or circumstances. That’s why we can pour so much government money over social issues and just create more social issues. There is actually a kind of cruelty woven beneath this form of “charity,” in the sense that it offers a poor substitute for love and eases the conscience of those who feel as if they’ve done something by taking other people’s money and throwing it at the problem.


    1. That is an excellent explanation of why government “charity” charity tends to produce dependency. The true object of charity should be what is best for the recipient. Since love is not involved, government charity is about what is best for politicians and what soothes the consciences of guilt-ridden voters.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I think people need to understand that government is run by people who are intensely under the influence of their own self interest.

    It is totally bizarre how 100’s of millions of people the world over think government has the purity of God.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What I find curious is the number of Democrat Liberals who think the words in the Declaration of Independence don’t matter, believe the Constitution is a “living document”, and still trust politicians redistribute the wealth to end poverty. The naivete is unbelievable.


  4. Try to convince a one percenter of the difference between greed and charity and he will walk away same as the wealthy you man in response to JesusChrist advise.

    Nothing new under the sun in this regard, in my opinion.


    1. By one percenter, I assume you mean the wealthiest one percent in this country. Don’t think it is appropriate to lump people together that way. Money does not corrupt people. The love of money corrupts people.


      1. Nothing wrong with making money, I agree. It is a choice we all decide with our limited lifetimes. I personally would really hate to die if I was a one percent and knew that all my money who wind up in the hands of someone who never worked an honest day in their lives.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I personally would really hate to die if I was a one percent and knew that all my money who wind up in the hands of someone who never worked an honest day in their lives.

          I believe a certain king expressed it this way.

          This too is vanity.

          We cannot take it with us, but we can send it ahead. We can store up our treasures in heaven.

          Liked by 1 person

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