Mine, Mine, Mine: A Look at Greed

  • Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC
  • Series: Winter 2009 Volume 16, Issue 1
  • Download PDF

Have you been around a two-year-old lately?  This is the age when children may march around the house proclaiming: "My cup, my dad, my chair, MINE!"  What happened to the sweet baby?  What happened is the normal development of the child.  Along with this stage is the newly found application of "No!"

Before we see the human twig of selfishness and greed in the developing child, we had better take a look at our own adult cravings.

Humankind has wrestled with greed and covetousness since the Garden.  The Apostle Paul warned Timothy against the love of money.  This did not mean cash only.  As some say, what seems to be a stumbling block in people's lives is PMS.  Not the kind you might be thinking of, but the Power, Money, and Sex kind.  Coveting and acting out sins along the line of these cravings brings untold misery and hard to bear consequences for person and their loved ones.

Power, money and sex are not by themselves a problem.  In the right spirit each is fine and meant to bless if they are managed in God given ways. 

I have a quiz here adapted from the April 8, 1996 issue of Christianity Today.  The point of this quiz is not to determine if we are greedy.  We are surely in our human state both selfish and greedy.  This quiz, not to be shared with anyone but ourselves, will help us come to God in prayer with how we are doing with attitudes around covetousness and greed.

1.  When I fantasize about winning the lottery I include: A. what I could do for others, B. only what I could buy and the vacations I could take, C. the singular freedom to do what I want

2. When I hear that someone with the same talents and energy is making $20,000 more than I do I: A. think about how nice it is that they could make that much money, B. It's not fair

3. If I admire a piece of art, pottery, or a book and the person offers to give it to me I immediately think: A.  this person is very generous, or B. I wonder what this person wants from me

4. If I give a person a gift I: A. am content if the person acknowledges it with pleasure and thanks, B. feel cheated if the person doesn't pretty soon do me a favor or give me a gift of equal or greater value, or C. feel rankled or disregarded if the person does not send me a thank you note

As mentioned, this quiz is not definitive as to greed or lack of it.  It may help however, to take stock of some of the greed in us.  Unlike a toddler, we are privileged to bring ourselves and our findings to God in prayer for His healing touch.

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