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“Watch out!  Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Whenever we read the word “possessions,” we tend to think of material possessions when possessions are far more than the material, for they include spiritual possessions as well.  At the basic level, it is easy to define what greed is:  the hoarding and lusting of worldly wealth.  However, there is a form of greed that is worse than the greed for materialistic possessions and wealth, and that is the greed for spiritual wealth.

We all know that Satan was blameless in his ways from the day he was created until, as the Lord said, “wickedness was found in you.  Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned.”  Trading is giving up something in exchange for another thing so that you may own it and possess it, and it is buying and selling.  What was there for Satan, the anointed guardian cherub, to trade for and possess in those days before the world was created?  There was no material wealth, only spiritual wealth.  Thus, the sin and wickedness of the originator of all that is wicked is in the violence of his trading.  Violence, suggesting a willingness to use force to take possession of, so that the trading was not freely giving and receiving, but rather, it was more a form of trade that was forced on others as well.  History shows us that those who use violence to engage in trading are those who are greedy and who seek to take possession of what belongs to others whilst giving them something worthless in return, like the Europeans who traded glass beads for Indian land in the Americas.  The one who engages in such trading knows that he is giving something worthless for something valuable.  Since the trading and the violence associated with trading were over spiritual possessions first, then the greater of two evils must surely be the hoarding of spiritual abundance as a means of measuring one’s life.

If the Lord has commanded us this:  “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings,” then what sort of wealth does He expect us to use to gain friends for Him?  How do we turn men and women to those He would call friends?  Again, see the basis on which He calls the eleven friends when He said, “Instead I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you.”  He called them friends because He shared everything He learned from His Father with them.

Now, we know eternal life is that we may come to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom God has sent, then how indeed do we measure life and apply the life we have received?  Is it not measured not in how much we possess, but by how much we give?  If a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions, then neither does God’s life, for man is made in His Image and His Likeness.  Even though God owns everything and all things belong to Him, the Life of God consists then not of what He possesses, but what He has given out.  His life is measured in the abundance that He has poured out to His creation, not by what He has made and possesses.

He is measured in the life that He has given; that of His Son and His Spirit whom He has poured out on all flesh.  And having given His Son and His Spirit… really… even the universe pales in measure to such gifts!  The Son has given His life for us and not just His life, but to His friends He has given all He knows of the Father and has given His glory as well.  The Holy Spirit has given His holiness to all mankind, even to the point of permitting Himself to be shared with those whom God permits to mature in Hebrews 6:4.  So then, God’s Life consists not in the abundance of His possessions, but in the abundance of what He has dispossessed, what He has given away to His creation, to His sons, both angelic and men.  Indeed, God has withheld nothing back from those whom He has called His sons and His friends, and He has given freely not as one would trade in buying and selling, but as One who gives without expecting a return.

For a person can command a servant to obey and that servant obeys because he is bound by his duty, and the duty binds him because he owes a debt of love or gratitude or even payment to the master.  That is, his obedience has been bought for a price.  However, friendship cannot be bound by a command, but can only be nurtured to respond in a freewill offering without obligation except the obligation of love.  So, when Jesus gave the eleven all that He learned from the Father so that they might truly become His friends, He gave that which cost Him, for He had to learn what He gave out and it costs to learn.  All learning costs something, be it time, effort, the mental prowess of deductions and memorisation it costs in effort and practice, which means it costs in failure and success.  There is an inherent inbuilt price to learning.  So when the Lord said, “everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you,” He told us that it cost Him something to acquire that knowledge.  There are those who can sit and listen but never learn, because to them a teacher is like one singing songs, and they find the lecture entertaining, but will put no effort, make no sacrifice or payment in effort and concentration to hear to receive, to consider and to practise that they might learn.

People who give you something, some knowledge they have not learned, have given you something that costs them nothing, and is of no value in their eyes.  If they sell you what they have learned, they have not given either, and as such, they retain possession of what you have received through the handsome price that you paid.  You may have purchased it, but what you purchased remains their property, and you may not reproduce it, copy it or distribute it to enrich yourself without their permission.  Thus, what you bought remains the possession of the one who sold it.  To retain possession of what you have sold is greed.  To make someone pay you for what you possess and yet still retain the right to dictate what can be done with it is the true definition of greed, not just hoarding like a miser.  At least the miserly and the hoarder are not demanding payment from others for their possessions, but the seller, in retaining intellectual rights and possession over what he has sold, is the truly greedy.

Compare that with the way the Lord gives to us what is His, freely and without encumbrance of copyright or intellectual property rights.  To Mary He said, “I am returning to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.”  With that one statement, He made us who are His brothers truly co-heirs with Him, without retaining any copyright claims or exclusive birthright over His God and His Father.  How did He do that?  He did that by not using His Name, that is, He did not say to Mary, “In My Name, God is your Father and God,” but rather without mentioning His Name, He said, “I am returning to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.”

Even though He said, “In that day you will no longer ask Me anything.  I tell you the truth, My Father will give you whatever you ask in My Name,” when He was resurrected, He raised the level of His giving to say, “My Father and your Father …My God and your God.”  Even though His possession of His Father and His Name, which was present in John 16:23, had disappeared by John 20:17 as He spoke to the one (and ones) who had listened to Him intently enough to have anticipated His need and so searched for Him harder than the other disciples.

Thus the greed that we are to eliminate, or rather, the type of greed that will permit us to eliminate those who are greedy is in those whose greed extends into the spiritual realms where the first wickedness was perpetrated by the first greedy person, Satan himself.  Thus, it is not a lack of greed for material things that makes the mark, but rather it is the greed for spiritual possessions, positions, titles, knowledge, wisdom, understanding of God that carries the greater judgement and condemnation, for Satan was not cast out of God’s presence for his greed of materialistic wealth, but rather his greed of spiritual wealth.

So learn to watch out for those who are truly greedy, those who sell what they have received freely from the Lord, for no one can say that their knowledge of the Lord cost them anything, even though it may appear that it does.  It may appear that it cost you time and effort in prayer, study and practice to receive from the Lord whatever revelation, knowledge and understanding, but in truth, the very time and effort you expended to receive the wealth of spiritual treasures was given to you as well by the salvation that came by His grace.  Thus, no saint of God can truly say that he devoted his time, life, energy and mental prowess to acquire and receive the revelations he has.  It was never theirs, but rather in keeping to the words of the Lord that are always eternally true, “To those who have, more is given…” saints who have received life, health, knowledge, wisdom, understanding and so on, are merely receiving the more as the very life they now have allows them to receive and acquire the revelations of God’s wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

So then, understand and know what true greed is and guard against it, for true greed is when you count the spiritual wealth that you have been given as your possessions; that which belongs to you and as such, may be sold by you.  You count them your possessions when you retain ownership over them through copyright and intellectual property laws, which have no existence in the Kingdom of God, for all things belong to God and He has given all things to those who are His heirs and friends.

If He who truly owns all things and has redeemed all things by His own Son, life and holiness, now freely gives to His servants, His sons and daughters and friends, then no one who wishes to remain His servants, children and friends has the right to trade what he has received as if it was his possession.

Thus, the one who counts his eternal life by the knowledge of the Holy One and Jesus that he possesses has deluded himself, for his life is not counted at all, but rather, it is the one who counts his eternal life in the knowledge of the Holy One and Jesus he has freely given out, who has a life worth counting.  And the richness of such a life then is not measured by how much one has acquired through trading and possessing, it is not even measured by the giving of what was given freely, no, the true application of life unto eternal riches is when you and I have learnt to give away freely that which cost us everything to receive.

You see, the Lord gave us this counsel:  “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.”  But what have we that we did not receive from Him in the first place, that we may offer to Him for the price to buy from Him this gold, the white clothes and the salve that He spoke of?  It is not friendship and it is not love, for one cannot use these as collateral to buy things with and still call them friendship and love.  What is there that we can use as worth that we can buy with from Him that would be something that is not ruined by being used for the price and that which truly comes from us as well?

It is when we do what He has done also when He first made us His friends, giving to us and making known to us everything that He has learnt from His Father.  It is when we also make known to our brothers and sisters, our fellow disciples, everything we have learnt ourselves from our Father, just like Jesus did for free.  In saying that we learnt it from our Father means likewise that it has cost us something to acquire and receive that knowledge, but now the imitation of Christ is that even though it cost us something to receive it, to acquire it, we give it away freely, not as a man trades his possessions or as a man sells his knowledge whilst retaining rights of possession over them, but as Christ gave.  He gave freely what cost Him everything to receive. 

Likewise our lives then are measured not in what we possess in spiritual wealth, even though when we first began to follow Him He did say, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on Earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven…  But now, you are not immature disciples who are being instructed in the basics, but are now coming into the maturity, which is your destiny.  And part of that destiny is to display how truly rich your Brother has made you when He made you His co-heir in the kingdom of His Father and your Father by you giving away freely and abundantly everything you have learnt from the Father.  For in the giving away of your spiritual possessions to your brothers and sisters, you completely destroy and bankrupt any value the spiritual treasures that Satan has been hoarding through his violent trade, so that anything learned from “Satan’s so-called deep secrets” is reduced as worthless.

It is when we learn to give as the Lord has given, not only freely that which we have received freely, but to give freely that which cost us to learn, that we are truly rich.  So rich that it makes all other measures of wealth meaningless and superfluous, so that those who count their lives by their possessions have no life at all.

In so doing, it renders worthless the possessions of those who are not only violent traders like Satan, but who are worse than Satan and are thieves.  Men who did not enter by the Gate that is Jesus, but climbed over the wall, who have been hoarding spiritual treasures for themselves whilst selling the husks of the grain they have hoarded to the hungry masses whilst retaining copyright over their testimony, their words and their deeds, which were freely given to them. 

It is the rendering of such ill-gotten treasures as worthless that the curse of Zechariah 5:1-4 will manifest in the house of the thief, so that both its timbers and stones are destroyed.  The curse has been pronounced on the thieves, now it can manifest because of the complete obedience learnt by the Elect and His elected ones. 

Your life consists not of the abundance of Your possessions, but rather the abundance of Your gifts that You have scattered abroad to the poor, O Lord.

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