10 My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.
11 If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason;
12 like Sheol let us swallow them alive,
and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder;
14 throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse”–
15 my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths,
16 for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood.
17 For in vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird,
18 but these men lie in wait for their own blood; they set an ambush for their own lives.
19 Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.
The simple moral here is that “crime does not pay.” It is wrong to do evil even if it should pay, but it doesn’t. Especially for young men like those in this illustration who join in gangs and commit violence, it is only a matter of brief time that they will be thrown in jail or beat up or killed. They do not realize that they are setting up their own violent trap.
But so is the way for any who are “greedy for unjust gain.” Being greedy will hurt you. If your focus is on getting as much money as you can, you will take risks and make foolish decisions that will harm you. But being greedy for unjust gain – delighting in taking advantage of others – all the more your downfall is certain as you create enemies – both of the wicked and the righteous – who become intent on revenge or justice.
Don’t let making money be your ultimate goal. Don’t choose careers because they will make you rich. If being rich becomes your goal, it will corrupt you, however moral you may start off. Greed will hurt you. It will take away your life.
And yet, all who seek to gain heaven without the imputed righteousness of Christ are guilty of pursuing unjust gain. Heaven cannot be bought; it cannot be stolen; it cannot be earned; it cannot be acquired by one’s own means. It must be received by Christ’s work and as his gift.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2021 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org