Blind Spot: Just a Little Bit More
by Creston Mapes
“How much money is enough?” multi-millionaire John D. Rockefeller was once asked.
“Just a little bit more,” he replied.
That has always stuck with me.
Just a little bit more.
Isn’t that our natural bent? At the dinner table? On the job? With investments? While decorating the house, fixing up the yard, or deciding what kind of car to drive? Our very nature—given by Adam—yearns for more, more, more.
More food, more attention, more possessions, more notoriety, more money.
My online dictionary defines “greed” as just that—the strong desire for more.
I’ve come to realize I can be greedy and not even know it. Why? Because greed is a blinding, slippery, addictive trap that we can fall into so easily.
In my new thriller, Poison Town, greed drives men to do unthinkable, hideous things—things that ruin their careers and infect other people. It’s not that these people set out to do wrong. It’s that their blazing discontentment and desire for more got the best of them.
Greed is, indeed, poison.
It is Satan’s tool.
Avoid the Abyss
“Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction,” reads 1 Timothy 6:9. Think of that. When we are overcome by that fever to get rich or even just to get more, we have fallen into an abyss that can ultimately lead to “ruin and destruction.”
Seemingly “good” people and seemingly “bad” people can succumb to greed’s seductive trappings. In Poison Town, some “good” people begin to believe the lie that they “deserve” more and better. In some cases, bitterness gets a foothold. They cry out that they’ve paid their dues, worked hard, and made next-to-nothing to show for it. So they take the low road thinking no one will know, thinking their deception will lead to the good life.
The Good Life . . . or Grief?
Many of us have heard the Bible verse calling money “a root of all kinds of evil,” but what about the very next verse? “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Timothy 6:11).”
Greed and the desire for more leads only to grief, which is defined in my dictionary as “great sorrow” and “trouble.”
Is that what we really want?
Heck no! We want joy and peace and protection.
Remember when the Israelites pleaded for food and God sent manna? Remember how they were told to take only enough manna for one day? If they were greedy, if they snuck more for the next day or for a midnight snack, what happened? The manna got maggots and melted away in their fingers—ruin.
We actually pierce ourselves with sorrows and troubles when we continually seek more, more, more. It’s a self-inflicted wound—a wound that festers and debilitates and destroys.
The moral to the story about the manna actually states that, “the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little (Exodus 16:17).”
Those who learned to be steady, be cool, be at peace, be self-controlled, to just eat enough to get by on—they were satisfied. They were well taken care of. They never had “too little.”
“Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that (1 Timothy 6:6-9).”
Contentment—what an incredibly powerful trait to learn, to grasp, to get a hold of in our lives. Contentment is great gain.
And it is something we can learn. Paul said in his letter to the Philippians, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances . . . I can do all this through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:11, 13).”
Christ was Paul’s contentment—not food or clothing, not possessions or money.
Oh, how I wish I could think and live that way!
It was Seneca, the Roman philosopher, who said: “It is not the man who has little, but he who desires more, that is poor.” Taking the liberty to stretch that sentiment, we might then say: “It is not the man who has much, but he who desires less, that is rich.”
Here’s to being rich in our contentment. Rich in Christ alone.
Creston Mapes is the author of the inspirational thrillers Poison Town, Fear Has a Name, Nobody, Dark Star, and Full Tilt. A journalist and copywriter, he works for some of the world’s most recognized corporations, colleges and ministries. Creston has ghost-written seven non-fiction titles and his early years as a reporter inspire many of his novels.
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