Imagine a World Without Greed
CAN you envision a world where people cooperate rather than compete? Where humans treat others as they themselves would like to be treated? These are the characteristics of a world without greed. What a world it would be! Will it ever come? Yes, it will. But how can greed—so ingrained in mankind—be eradicated?
To get an answer, we must first understand the origin of greed. The Bible indicates that it was not always a characteristic of the human race. The prophet Moses reminds us that no defect such as greed was initially found in the first man, the perfect creation of a greed-free Creator: “The Rock, perfect is his activity, for all his ways are justice.” So, then, where did greed come from? The first human pair allowed it to develop in themselves—Eve in greedy anticipation of what she would get from eating fruit God had prohibited, Adam in greedily not wanting to lose his beautiful wife. Moses added, in words that were also true of Adam and Eve: “They have acted ruinously on their own part; they are not his children, the defect is their own.”—Deuteronomy 32:4, 5; 1 Timothy 2:14.
By the time of the global Flood of Noah’s day, greed and lust had developed to such a state that “the badness of man was abundant in the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time.”—Genesis 6:5.
This dominant attitude of greediness in man has continued until now, seemingly reaching its zenith in today’s thankless and greedy society.
Eliminating Greed Through Education
Just as greed among humans has grown, so the reverse is possible. Greed can be overcome. Yet, for this to take place, proper education and training are necessary, with strict guidelines or rules of conduct being followed. This may sound plausible, but who could supply that kind of education and ensure that what is learned is put into practice—even enforced if necessary?
Such education must emanate from a source that is free from greed itself. There must not be any ulterior motives or expectation of something in return for such training. Additionally, the value and practicability of unselfishness must be taught and demonstrated. The one learning needs to be convinced not only that such a way of life is possible but that it is the preferred way, with benefits to himself and to those around him.
Only the God of heaven can supply this kind of education, for what man or organization on earth would have the qualifications and the background? All men are disqualified on the basis of this Biblical truth: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”—Romans 3:23.
Happily, Jehovah, the God of heaven, does provide such education in his written textbook, or manual, the Holy Bible. His Son, Jesus Christ, championed this kind of teaching when he was a man on earth. Midway through Jesus’ famed Sermon on the Mount, he spoke of a way of life that sounded strange to most of those listening, for it embraced unselfishness even toward one’s enemies or opposers. Jesus said: “Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those persecuting you; that you may prove yourselves sons of your Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous. For if you love those loving you, what reward do you have? Are not also the tax collectors doing the same thing?”—Matthew 5:44-46.
Part of Jesus’ mission on earth was to train unselfish instructors so that they in turn could educate others in this greed-free way of life. Some time after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the apostle Paul became one of such instructors. In several of his inspired letters, Paul urged the eradication of greed. For instance, he wrote the Ephesians: “Let fornication and uncleanness of every sort or greediness not even be mentioned among you, just as it befits holy people.”—Ephesians 5:3.
Similarly today, Jehovah’s Witnesses are teaching men and women to suppress greedy tendencies. In time these also become qualified to go forth and teach others such godly ways.
Bible Truths in Action
But you may ask: ‘Can imperfect people, ingrained with greed, really root it out from their personalities?’ Yes, they can. Not perfectly, of course, but to an extent that is quite remarkable. Let us consider an example of this.
A confirmed thief lived in Spain. His home was full of stolen goods. Then he began a study of the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. As a result, his conscience began to trouble him, so he decided to return to the owners the things he had stolen. He approached his former employer and confessed to having stolen a new washing machine from him. The employer, so impressed with his changed attitude, decided not to inform the police but simply allowed the former thief to pay the price of the washing machine.
Next, the reformed thief determined to visit everyone else that he remembered he had stolen from and to return the stolen items. Everyone he visited expressed surprise that because of his applying Bible principles, he had had this great change of attitude.
Now a real difficulty confronted him. He did not know the owners of many of the items he still had. So, after praying to Jehovah, he went to police headquarters and handed in six stereo radios he had stolen from cars. The police were surprised, as he had a clean record with them. They decided he should just pay a fine and serve a short jail term.
This former thief now has a clean conscience, having abandoned his life of crime and greed to become part of the worldwide congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Thousands of similar examples could readily be given. Though those who have made such changes in their lives form a minority of earth’s inhabitants, the fact that many have done so demonstrates the power for good that comes from knowing and applying Bible principles.
As each year goes by, more and more people embrace this way of life. Bible instruction is being given in more than 60,000 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout the earth. The Witnesses do not at this time expect to change the world as a whole, eradicating greed from among the thousands of millions presently living. Nevertheless, Bible prophecy indicates that very soon now, a greed-free way of life will prevail earth wide!
A Greed-Free New World
There will be no place for greed and selfishness in the coming new world. The apostle Peter assures us that righteousness will be a hallmark not only of the “new heavens” but also of the “new earth.” (2 Peter 3:13) Greed will be among “the former things” that will have passed away, along with sickness, sorrow, and even death.—Revelation 21:4.
Hence, if you are distressed by the escalating greed and the selfish way of life seen all around us today, take heart! Begin now to live for the coming new world that will soon be a reality. With God’s help, strive to eradicate greed from your own life. Join in helping others to see the benefits that right now can be enjoyed by Christian living. Put your faith and trust in Jehovah God’s promise that greed will very shortly be among the host of unpleasant things that ‘will not be called to mind, nor come up into our hearts.’—Isaiah 65:17.
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Jesus spoke of a way of life that promotes unselfishness, not greed
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Soon—a world without greed