For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely.
It's a sad truth, but whenever a plate is passed around at church, my inner "doubting Thomas" comes out in force. Is the money for a good cause? Surely, for it's going to the church!
Or is it?
I've often been a little mistrustful of organizations and people that claim to help the needy, but who drive fancy cars and pull in extravagant salaries. Now, I'm not saying we should redistribute wealth, rather look at motive and drive. Is it a result of success? Or is it a result of greed?
So here's the question, to tie it back to Jeremiah: Is everyone greedy as he claims? Or is this hyperbole; meant to encourage reflection upon our own intentions?
Let's take it at the latter. We are all guilty of greed at some point: we tell white lies, we shift the goalposts when it suits us, and we sometimes deal a false card. That alone shouldn't send us directly to the boiling fires of hell, but we need to be aware. Be aware, admit, and ask for forgiveness.
Because what can happen is laid out in James... get too greedy and rich and fat on the backs of those we've pummeled:
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
So what about that collection? Am I fueling someone's greed or am I actually helping? It's a tough call, but would it be better to spend my money on a bowl full of ice cream or donate it to the charity in question? Even if the money never gets there, I've put that intention first; put myself second.
"Remember, I'm pulling for you. We're all in this together." -- Red Green