medical-681119_1280

By Dr. Harold Sala

Watch out!  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

John D. Rockefeller, an extremely wealthy man, was once asked, “How much do you need to have enough?”  He replied, “Just a little bit more!”  While his reply was probably made in jest, there is a tension between having enough and always wanting more.  How much is enough?

While there is certainly no virtue in mediocrity, there is an alarming virus today that seems to infect the minds of many–a driving desire to get ahead of the next person, to have more than your neighbor, which always produces a rash of dissatisfaction with the status quo.  Those living with this virus are always discontented, always left feeling that a little bit more would satisfy, never being willing to draw a line and say, “Thank God, I’ve got enough!”

Commenting on the death of a wealthy friend, a woman said, “She had so much to live for.” “No,” corrected her husband, “she had so much to live on, and that’s a lot different.”

When a person is attacked by a virus, doctors usually prescribe an antibiotic or an anti-viral medication.  And when you follow the doctor’s order, you recover, but what about this virus of the soul which troubles so many people today who are constantly dissatisfied with their lives, always left wanting more?  Can anything be done to combat this?  Can anything be done to vaccinate against the virus of greed or lust?  There’s good news.  Today’s guidelines answer that very question.  List these guidelines and put them into practice:  anti-viral medicine for the soul.

Guideline #1:  Resist the temptation to compare yourself with others. 

Paul writes: “We do not dare to … compare ourselves with some who commend themselves.” (2 Corinthians 10:12).  Comparing yourself with others who get ahead of you is bound to produce a virus of unrest in your heart.

Guideline #2:  Learn to rejoice in what others have.

O.K.–your brother-in-law got a promotion and a better salary than you have.  Learn to say, “Lord, thank You for providing for Joe.  Thank You that I don’t have to worry about his wanting to borrow money from me!”  Rejoicing in what others have is anti-viral when it comes to greed and discontentment.  Tough?  Yes!  Impossible?  Not at all!

Guideline #3:  Admire without feeling that you have to acquire.

When Bill and Mary bought a new car, Bill’s father-in-law told a friend, “I’m not going to let him get ahead of me; I’ll buy a new one as well.”  He did!   This virus of discontentment makes us buy things we do not want, with money we do not have, to impress people we do not like.

Few can say with Paul, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12).  A competitive spirit that demands you have what others have is a symptom that you are infected with the virus which produces covetousness and discontentment.

The drift of our culture today puts emphasis on having, but God puts it on being.  Our culture emphasizes possessions, but God says that relationships are more important.  Jesus said, “Watch out!  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).

Guideline #4:  Invest in what will last forever.

Commenting on the death of a wealthy friend, a woman said, “She had so much to live for.”  “No,” corrected her husband, “she had so much to live on, and that’s a lot different.”

The virus of greed and discontentment can be stopped.  It is well worth the steps necessary to put it to rest, once and for all.

Resource reading: Luke 12:16-21.

Editor’s Note: The original title of this article was, ANTI-VIRAL MEDICATION FOR YOUR SOUL