November 27, 2006, Enterprise Dispatch
Pastor's Column

Are we generous or greedy?

Pastor Steve Olson, Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Dassel

Created in the image of God, we have an inborn need to be generous. It is part of how God wired us.

Yet, at the same time, there is a part of us that does not want to be generous, and that part gets tons of encouragement.

Every time we watch the TV, open a magazine, surf the net, or listen to the radio we are bombarded by a whole industry devoted to the business of greed.

We call it advertising and all that advertising has one single goal: to make us want more. Yet how much more do we really need.

That is a tough question, a question the advertising agencies really don’t want you to ask. They don’t want us to think too seriously about the differences between our wants and our needs. Their goal is to always leave us wanting one more; one more this or one more that; but when is enough, enough?

If we can’t answer that question, then the advertisers will answer it for us, and their answer will always be, there is never enough. You must remain a slave to your desires. You can never be content. You can never be at peace.

That is what they will say, but is that what God says? St. Paul reminds us that “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Gal 5:1.)

God does not want us to be consumer slaves. For if we are consumer slaves, we will always be focused on our own wants. We will never be able to become the truly generous people we were created to be. That inborn God-created need to be generous will never be satisfied.

So, we have a choice to make. Jesus said “. . . where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mat. 6:21), and that is the truth.

We can see that in how people decide to spend their time and their money. These decisions define and shape who we are.

So what kind of people do we want to be? Do we want to be slaves, or do we want to be free? Do we want to be greedy, or do we want to be generous?

Think about that the next time you look at your calendar, consider your budget or pull out your wallet. What kind of person do you want to be remembered as by your family and friends? What kind of person do you want to be today?

The choice is ours. May God guide us in our choosing.

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