The Spirit and Ethic of Greed
March 1, 15
As a pastor I have been able to be around a lot of great Christians leaders. Many of them are straight shooters. But many of them are motivated by greed and money. It is so sad to say but it is true. I have found that many Christians leaders mind is on the bottom line and they are paying attention to what you are giving in the offering plate. To some leaders what you give in the offering plate will determine what position you will hold and how much exposure you will get. Some have actually told me that is how they were treated and that’s what they are going to do too. I am glad I am living by faith. In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism I could see where this type of spirit was fostered. It is so sad to know that Protestantism may be the origin of the spirit. I think this country is just naturally controlled by greed. People want more and more. “In contrast with the greater part of the past, our everyday wants today are supplied through modern capitalism.”Its seems that people are fueled by wanting more and the “eye is never satisfied with seeing.” This spirit of capitalism has crept in the church and in my eyes it is a spirit of greed. It has taken me a while to learn how to live within my means. America teaches us from commercials and magazine to constantly want more. I remember when I was running my construction company my ambition to be a good contractor was fueled by money. I kept setting financial goals and not goals that would expand my company the right way. I quickly found out the hard way that expanding is not just how much money you make. Its what you don’t waste and make the most out of.
What is so heart wrenching is a lack of theological teaching on the subject of greed. While Solomon is clear that a lazy person should not eat, there are New Testament texts that Jesus clearly teaches us to be aware of greed. Our life does not consist of the abundance of the things we posses. I am not advocating poverty either. I don’t want to live poor. I grew up that way and I want to make a better life for my family. But I like to go back to the real theological principle that motivates me now. Being in God’s will and having what he has for me keeps you from wanting more. I learned too that everything we think we want we don’t want. I don’t think hard work is the answer to everything. I think smart work is. And I had to learn that from the school of hard knocks. My prayer is that the 21st Century church will begin to adopt more biblical ways of looking at success. I pray that I can be a catalyst to teach and to live out principles that are ethical and not filled with that spirit of greed.
 Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism with Other Writings on the Rise of the West [New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2009], 392.