The Holy Gospel: August 4, 2013 (Year C)

Read: Luke 12:13-21

Meditation: “Slaying the ‘G’ Demon

It would be almost impossible to find one sentence in the Gospels more relevant than the one Jesus spoke to the man in today’s lesson: “be on guard against all kinds of greed” (12:15).  As I write this meditation, another round of investigations is commencing, with a particular focus on the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The word “greed” is once again in the headlines.

But we miss the full impact of today’s lesson if we wag our finger at Wall Street and fail to see the “g demon” on our street.  Jeannie and I recently happened to sit in a booth next to a group who lived in an ordinary town.  They were discussing how their boss had required them to spend $10,000 for one evening’s “wining and dining” of prospective clients. One man described all the things he did to run up the tab, and concluded by saying that to reach the prescribed amount, he had to give the waiter an $800 tip.  In telling the story, he noted that he had to reach the $10,000 amount, or he would have gotten into trouble!

What struck me–apart from the stories themselves–was the “business as usual” tone of the conversation.  Not one word of critique of the value system that gave rise to the policy–not one word of concern for representing a system that normalized a “money is no limit”—“do whatever it take to get a customer” approach to business.

But again, we cannot fully experience this lesson without investigating our own hearts and find there the places and times where the “g demon” has taken up residence, and did so without any resistence or critique on our part.

And Jesus said….”Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”  How far are we willing to go to get what we want?  Too far?

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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