Overcoming Greed

Ecclesiastes 5:10-20

v. 19-20 Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.

Solomon is known for the wisdom God gave to him.  In this wisdom he was led to write Ecclesiastes.  This book at first seems a disenchantment with all that goes on in this life calling things the “vanity of vanities.”  In this section he writes how one with plenty can become consumed with desiring and gaining more but remain feeling empty and unfulfilled.  A progression of questions I ask the confirmands each year is, “How many T-shirts do you need?”  “How many T-shirts do you own?”  That leads into recognizing the abundance each one has been given in this world despite the surface appearing to never being enough.

Paul writes to Timothy, “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment,” [1 Timothy 6:6].  Jesus tells us not to worry about what we eat or drink or wear because our heavenly Father knows what we need [Matthew 6:25-26].  Worrying versus being concerned and planning and providing certainly are different things but become so easily confused and intertwined.  Greed becomes a very subtle and ingrained feature as one desires more and more for self.

God wants only one thing for himself, each individual person.  He has given each one all that there is in this creation to use and to enjoy and to provide for each other as he first provides for us.  He calls us to do all things for his glory.  He has his greatest joy in giving all things.  His plan is for all to share that joy of giving in his love to others.

God’s greatest giving is the complete forgiveness of sins that brings sinners back into his glories in heaven forever.  He has done this only through Jesus’ earthly life, suffering, death and resurrection that paid the price for all sins and conquers death and the grave forever.  That is his covenant, not to be greedy for himself but giving completely of himself for each and every one.  Likewise, in faith in his love each one then gladly gives up that earthly greediness for his greediness, in time for study and prayer, in giving of resources for the church’s work, in giving time and talent and rejoicing in fellowship of worship with others where we are strengthened and nourished in faith and understanding and supporting each other in his love.

It is a gift to receive.  It is a gift in joyful giving knowing the joy another receives and lives in un-greedy lives being only selfish for Christ and that eternal joy he alone brings.

Prayer:  Dear heavenly Father, you have shown us what giving is all about.  You gave your only son so that He might give us eternal life.  You give us all we need and beyond, opening your hand and satisfying the desires of every living thing [Psalm 145:16].  Send you Holy Spirit to work that same joy in our hearts as we emulate your giving.  In Jesus’ undying love.  Amen.

(Thoughts for this devotion and prayer from “Excel in the Grace of Giving”   © Parish Publishing)

Readings for today:

Psalm 46              Revelation 14:6-7             Romans 3:19-28                John 8:31-36

This Weekend @ Immanuel

Saturday

  • Men’s Bible Study:  9 AM in Faith Hall

Sunday

  • Divine Service @ 8 & 10:30 AM
  • Sunday School & Bible Studies:  9:15 AM

Service Theme: Stewardship in Study

Immanuel’s prayer list.

*For those who are ill and recovering:

  • Those receiving treatments for their conditions.
  • Those who are home bound and/or in care facilities
  • Those facing life and end-of-life issues and care.
  • All others as each one knows

*For Immanuel’s church council making final preparations for the November 14 Voters’ Assembly, that all work leads to God pleasing decisions in ministry and mission within this congregation and into today’s and tomorrow’s community and world.

*For those re-elected, newly elected and those continuing in public office, to serve office faithfully to provide for the common good of all people.  For people of faith in witness to all leaders that through knowing God’s word and by the Holy Spirit all lead lives in peacefulness in our nation and throughout the world.

*Thanksgiving for those whose public service is now completed as they have served in our behalf during their elected and appointed terms.

*For the schools of our church and synod, that pastors, church workers and all others are prepared in truthfulness of doctrine to serve in all vocations as God provides through them for the good of all people and to bring him glory and praise.  For:  Seminaries at Fort Wayne and St. Louis; the Concordia Colleges and Universities; Valparaiso University; Lutheran campus ministries; and Immanuel’s day school.  Thanksgiving for faithful instructors and support personnel in all of these places.

*During National Education Week, thanksgiving for all educational institutions, public and private, as each one prepares people of this earth to use the talents and abilities given only by God to be used for the common good of all people.  For the faithful Christian instructors, support personnel and students in each and every institution, who faithfully live and serve as vibrant witnesses of God’s love to all in their environs.

*For peace in a world that does not know the peace given in and through Jesus Christ.

*For many to join Bible Study groups to grow in faith and knowledge in God’s word, and to strengthen each other in the bonds of Christian fellowship.

*For those seeking work to find employment and appropriate wages.  For employers to find faithful workers to fill their positions.  Thanksgiving for the work that so many are given.

*For New Starts New Believers in the Northern Illinois District including the work Planning the Planting at Immanuel Lutheran in Des Plaines, that the emerging mission field is recognized and enter into bringing the love of Jesus into the hearts of those literally “dying to hear” and believe.

*As we continue daily readings on “covenant,” that each one rejoices and lives in the covenant relationship God has freely given from creation to salvation.

This Week in the Word

Selected readings on God’s Covenant with us and ours with him.

November 4 November 5 November 6 November 7 November 8 November 9 November 10
Genesis 8:20-9:17 Genesis 12:1-3 Genesis 14:14-24 Genesis 15:1-20 Genesis 17:1-14 Genesis 17:25-27 Genesis 26:1-5

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