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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of January 16, 2017

Giving is the only antidote to greed.

Jesus says, in Matthew 6:24, No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. Jesus is making the point that our heart's highest loyalty will be for only one thing. We can't be equally devoted to two things; ultimately one will win out over the other.

If money is the most important thing to you (i.e., if you're greedy), then you will serve your money more than you serve God. And you will find it very difficult to follow God's instructions to give to others: If there is a poor man among your brothers ... do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs (Deuteronomy 15:7-8).

If it's true that no one can serve two masters, then the best way to fight against greed is to make sure that your master (your highest loyalty) is God—not money. Follow God above all else; that way your money will follow God, too.

John writes, If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (1 John 3:17). That sounds rather harsh at first, but it's really no different than what Jesus said in Matthew 6:24. If you love your money more than God, then you'll keep your money for yourself rather than giving it away to help others. The only way you'll give generously to others is if you love God more than you love your money. So, how do you know if you love God more than money? By examining what you do with your money: Do you keep most of it, or give most of it?

If you want to fight against greed (that is, if you want to love God more than your money), then you'll follow God's instructions to give—give to the poor, give generously, give joyfully, give liberally, and give regularly. Giving is the best weapon against greed.

Church works and religious acts do not replace spending personal time with God.

Have you ever found yourself so busy working for God that you neglect to spend time with God?

It can be easy to be deceived into thinking that doing religious works is just as good as spending personal time with God. However, you will not grow spiritually if you don't spend time with God.

Good works will not get you into Heaven; you must have a personal relationship with Jesus. In Matthew 7:22-23, Jesus said, concerning Judgement Day, "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" Those people thought that because they did good things in the name of Jesus they could get into Heaven. Instead, Jesus surprised them by saying, "I never knew you."

Therefore, don't get so caught up in your good works that you forget to know God. Make it your goal to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33).

If all of your good works have made you so busy that you don't spend any time with God, then those good works have become bad works, because they are replacing your time with God.

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