From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Dr. Graham:

During my glory days I accomplished many things through high ambition and keeping my focus on success. Now I am an old man with only a bank account to show for my accomplishments. My wife and family abandoned me. By God’s grace He has not forgotten me and brought me back to His truth. I am doing what Zacchaeus did when he saw the Lord. I am giving back what I have gained. Can my greedy past warn others to set aside this heavy weight?

— G.G.

Dear G.G: Greed is an intense and selfish desire for something, often something belonging to another. The Bible speaks of greed as covetousness, as in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:17).

Greed seeks more than its own in life. It cheats, robs and slanders to achieve its desires. The Bible teaches that we are born with the sin of covetousness (Jeremiah 6:13).

Charles Kingsley, a historian, once said, “If you wish to be miserable, think about yourself: about what you want, what you like, what respect people ought to pay you — and then to you, nothing will be pure. You will spoil everything you touch. You will make misery for yourself out of everything good. You will be as wretched as you choose.”

Greed is rated with other sins like wickedness and maliciousness in Romans 1:29. Greed is idolatry and not to be confused with riches, if riches have been earned honestly. But if riches choke out spiritual life, then it is sin.

Many people have been blessed by the story of Zacchaeus and challenged to turn from a life of greed to a life of giving — and God’s blessing falls on them when they live according to the attributes of Christ. Everything that we see about us that we count as our possessions only comprises a loan from God.