more, more,more – Discontentment is Greed Pt II

Hey Reader,

Welcome back to Living Contentment – as always the intent is to give you a nudge towards real, deep contentment with something contentment-related to read, to do, and to pray.

We’re currently revisiting some causes of discontentment. If you have been reading this newsletter for several years – you’ll probably remember some of these.

This is the second week we’re looking at the topic of greed.


Often the way the idea of greed gets translated into English versions of the Bible is ‘to covet.’ However covet is one of those words that has somehow become exclusively religious (like: salvation, repent, and others). We’ve lost the original meaning because the word itself feels ‘too church-y.’

Coveting (greed) can be seen as a wrong kind of wanting. A desire that is either wrong or at least misdirected. Maybe we want the wrong things (your neighbor’s wife). Maybe you want things that are not wrong, but you want them for the wrong reasons (success – so people see how smart you are). Perhaps you want something in the wrong amount (food, money, friends, etc.). Maybe you want it at the wrong time (you NEED to get married NOW). Understanding greed/coveting is not as easy as saying ‘don’t want bad things.’

We often try to temper our greed by finding a context that allows it to be contained in some ‘good’ or ‘moral’ or even ‘Christian’ virtue. Then surely no one (including ourselves) can find fault in it. So we hoard our money “because my kids need a good education” and we squander our income on a fancy car “because I need to know my wife won’t have problems driving home in bad weather” and we over-buy into expensive neighborhoods “because I need my kids to feel safe in their own yard.” We can then attempt to convince others (and more importantly ourselves) that we are not greedy, we just want some ‘good’ thing (education, safety, security).

Let me be clear- wanting a good education, a reliable car, or safety for our kids is not a bad thing. These are all good things. And saving or spending on them is NOT WRONG. Education, safety, and security are good.

But, when we use them as excuses to convince ourselves or others our real motives are not actually a lot closer to greed – we have a problem.

I know this because I have done it myself too many times. It’s way too easy to get caught up in wanting what our society tells us we should want, and then simply find ways to justify it to ourselves.


I can’t discern why you may want something. And that’s great since it’s not my job. I have my own problems with greed. But here’s what might be helpful for you.

What’s that “just one more” thing you need?
Just a bit nicer.
Just a bit newer.
Just a bit better.

Try to sit and journal out the answers behind the answers.

Keep asking yourself “Yes, but why?”

I’m saving money “Yes, but why?”
Because my kids need to go to a good university “Yes, but why?”
So they can get good jobs “Yes, but why?”
…etc etc etc…

Maybe you end up at a place of “because if I’m honest, I want them to do what I couldn’t…and I feel like a failure and I want to use them to prove I am successful” or maybe you end up at “because I know God has given them talents that can be used for furthering His Kingdom and getting training will enhance that.”

Again – no one else can answer this but you. But you probably should answer this.


Lord of enough,
God of plenty,
You give,
and you take away.
Help us to live with what you have given us.
Give us hearts of thankfulness, appreciation…contentment.
Thank you for your ever-generous spirit that does not stop giving,
Even when we misuse what you have given.
Help us to see what we have, and others don’t – not the opposite.
Give us hearts of gratitude.


Talk to you next Thursday!