Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, 'Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.' But he said to him, 'Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?' And he said to them, 'Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.'
(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
This little section from Luke's Gospel reminds me of the 2019 film 'Greed'. If you haven't seen it, it's a satirical film starring Steve Coogan, who plays a billionaire who has recently suffered a damaging government inquiry into financial and ethical abuse in his fashion business which relies on sweatshops based in Southeast Asia. Along with this he has been accused of asset-stripping, and avoiding paying tax. His character, 'Sir Richard "Greedy" McCreadie' retreats to Mykonos to celebrate his 60th birthday which is to have a Gladiator theme, with a Roman arena, mock-gladiators, and a live lion. Things progress in a somewhat predictable, but fatal fashion, for Sir Richard!
Well alright this takes the theme of Greed to its ultimate conclusion, but with Jesus warning his listeners that 'life does not consist in the abundance of possessions,' we might say that he too is taking greed to its ultimate conclusion. Should we really buy that frivolous purchase - do we actually need it? Can we pair our possessions down, after all we can't take them with us when we leave this life? If we are less greedy for the things of this world, is it possible then that we will be able to help others who struggle to buy food, for instance?
You taught people not to be greedy or selfish,
but to share what they own with others.
May we seek not to accumulate possessions,
for ourselves alone,
but to look around us at the inequality,
and do what we can to help those in need.