Many, many years ago there was an old man who lived with his son in the forest. The people in the village nearby used to call the old man a miser and say that he kept stacks of money hidden in his house. Some even said that he could rub a silver coin for hour after hour until it would turn to gold!
One day the old man was out chopping wood when a wild tiger appeared and pounced on him. The tiger gripped the old man by the shirt on his back and carried him off, dangling the miser from his mouth the way a kitten might carry a rag doll.
The old man's son saw everything that happened and ran to get his rifle. He soon caught up to the tiger that held his father. The son raised his rifle to shoot the tiger and to save the old man.
"Wait!" cried the old man. "Don't shoot! Aim carefully," he instructed his son. "If you can kill this tiger without spoiling his beautiful hide, we can skin him and get many pieces of silver! Shoot carefully, my son, so that we may get top price for the tiger's skin!"
As the son listened obediently to his father's instruction, he lowered the rifle slightly from his shoulder. The tiger, seeing his opportunity to escape, suddenly bounded into the forest, carrying the old miser with him. The son pursued but could not catch the nimble tiger. He never saw his father again.
That old story illustrates the dangers of greed. By thinking only of money and of his own gain, the old man foolishly lost his life. That's why Jesus said, "Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" (Luke 12:15, NIV). Greed is sin, and sin never made anyone happy and complete, though it has destroyed many people's lives. So be on your guard against all kinds of greed, and cultivate a spirit of generosity instead.
REFLECT: Unscramble the scrambled words to complete the following statements, based on today's Bible reading:
No greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God.
A greedy person is really an idolator who worships the things of this world.
Don't participate in the things these people do.
Answers: inherit, idolater, participate
PRAY: "Dear God, I know that my life and happiness aren't measured by the abundance of my possessions. But it's easy to forget that and start to be greedy. Remind me how wrong and dangerous greed is and how much better it is to be generous."