Ambition#7. “Think once and pray twice.”

Ambition#7. “Think once and pray twice.”

Christians waste their time worrying about what others possess. Having previously given the subject more time than it deserved, my discussions with the “haves” usually did not end well. As much as I tried to focus such discussions on general Christian stewardship, the discussions usually (but not always) descended into monologues on their “gift to make money.” I never disputed their moneymaking talents, but their underlying message that the poor lacked ambition, or were “just plain lazy,” was offensive.

Most of us will go to our graves giving little thought to the sin of covetousness. It is one of those sins we believe to be reserved for those idle rich; those who have nothing better to do with their lives than to want more of what they already have.

But Jesus calls all of us to take up a defensive position against greed:
“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).

I have seen excesses in the accumulation of possessions by rich and poor alike. Of course, though characteristically amassing more than a soul requires, the rich tend to be more discriminating in their purchases than their poorer counterparts.

However, greed is universal. The poor covet with the same intensity as anyone else. The problem is not in how much one should have, but in how much one should need?

The needs of our work for Jesus will vary according to circumstances. And these circumstances vary according to life choices. Living as a minimalist might be an attractive personal choice but add a spouse and a few kids, and you will invite mutiny into the equation.

The Christian must think once and pray twice about what is needed. Otherwise, greed in all its forms will take over, and life will consist in the abundance of one’s possessions without even giving it thought.

John Staiger


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