I have a secret to share: I’m just a big kid at heart. I know it’s hard to believe but there it is, the truth laid bare.
Some of my favorite things in the world are glow sticks. You know, the plastic tubes filled with two types of fluid, one of them encased in a glass container. When you snap the glass piece it allows the two fluids to mix, and the stick glows.
Whenever I get the chance, I pick some up for myself — um, I mean, for the kids. Yeah. For the kids.
The other night I swung by the store on my way home. I went in and found a pack of 15 small glow sticks. They were smaller than the ones I regularly buy, so when I got home I gave Chloe and Cole two each.
They love the glow sticks as much as I do, and they were very excited to get two. But as I watched them play, I noticed that Cole started to exhibit a little bit of a greedy nature.
He already had two glow sticks, but he wanted Chloe’s, too. He kept trying to take them from her when she wasn’t paying attention. She would notice what he was up to and scream and cry for justice, which I would then have to administer by telling Cole to leave his sister alone and be content with what he had.
The whole ordeal made Cole miserable because he couldn’t have what he wanted. It made Chloe miserable because Cole wouldn’t leave her alone. It made me miserable because I had to keep refereeing between the two of them.
Greed affects our relationships with the people around us. Greed also affects our relationship with our heavenly father. If allowed free reign in our lives, greed will destroy every relationship we have.
Jesus spoke to the issue of greed when he said, "What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" (Matthew 16:26) Yes, greed is a dangerous thing. How can we combat it?
By doing what I told Cole: be content with what you have. Paul learned this lesson. In Philippians 4:12 he says, "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation ... whether living in plenty or in want."
If we can learn that lesson for ourselves, our relationships with others — and with our heavenly father — will no longer be stressed, broken or destroyed by the vice-like grip of greed.
Parrish Myers is pastor of Pine Crest Baptist Church in Gainesville. His column appears every other week in Sunday Life.