Fruitfulness and Greediness (Not sure if this posted for review before...)

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newton3003

Senior Member
Feb 4, 2017
437
42
28
#1
God has no problem with people profiting from their own efforts. Did He not command Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28 to “Be fruitful”? Is being fruitful not the same as being profitable? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “profit” as “the excess of returns over expenditure…,” the inference being one’s own expenditures as opposed to the expenditures of others. To be fruitful in God’s eyes is to end up with more than what you started with, and to gain from your own efforts. One can gain from being fruitful, but one also gets gain through greed.

The Bible draws a line between profit and greed. Greed has several meanings in the Bible, with one of them coming up quite early. In Genesis, Abel gives God an offering of a sheep that he himself raised. Before this effort of his, he had no sheep, but his efforts enabled him to gain sheep, so now he offers one of them to God. Cain, on the other hand, makes an offering to God of a plant he pulls up from the ground. Cain had no part in growing that plant. In fact, the plant was God’s doing, not a result of Cain’s efforts.

God looks at the two offerings; he gives Abel his blessings, and He favors Abel over Cain. Cain, upset at being excluded, asks God why. God in Genesis 4:7, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” That is, if Cain offers something of his own efforts, rather than of someone else’s efforts, would he not be accepted? In God’s eyes, Abel was being fruitful, but Cain demonstrated a form of greed. To be sure, Jude 1:11 says “Woe to them! For they walked in the way of CAIN and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error.”

So, there is another kind of greed which results in turning away from God, such that the desire for gain is to the exclusion of God rather than in walking with God. Gain solely for the sake of gain is evil, for those who so endeavor are serving other gods. In Matthew 6:24, Jesus says “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. YOU CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MONEY.”

Is it a sin to be rich? I tell you that it is one thing to end up being rich through fruitful endeavors, but it is another thing to strive to be rich for the sake of richness. In a sense, 1 Timothy 6:6…8-10 would consider being rich through fruitful endeavors as having enough as opposed to being rich, although some may regard you as being rich depending on how much you have. That passage says, says, “godliness with contentment is great gain... But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. IT IS THROUGH THIS CRAVING THAT SOME HAVE WANDERED AWAY FROM THE FAITH AND PIERCED THEMSELVES WITH MANY PANGS.”

Under God, being rich through righteousness is relative…while a person may be content in having enough “food and clothing,” figuratively speaking, the person may not see themselves in those terms…But others, in comparing themselves with that person, may see that person as being rich. This person who, while being regarded as rich, has been fruitful. On the other hand, if a person strives to be rich, rather than to have what they would believe to be enough, his motives under God may be called into question. His neighbors may regard him as being greedy.

A fruitful person has acquired their gain in the love of God and their neighbors. A greedy person has acquired gain solely for the sake of gain and also at the expense of others, and in so doing, causes strife among those who love God and eachother. Proverbs 28:25 says, “A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the LORD will be enriched.”

A person who is diligent in their work rightfully deserves the value that work yields, whether it’s five thousand dollars, fifty-thousand dollars or five hundred thousand and above. This person is an Abel. A person who takes the value of someone else’s work or takes someone else’s belongings while giving up no value for what they have taken, is greedy and therefore is a Cain.
 

Dino246

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2015
12,928
6,963
113
#2
Your comments on the distinction between profit and greed are reasonable, but your assumption about the nature of Cain's sin is speculative. Scripture simply doesn't tell us clearly the reason why his offering was not acceptable.
 

newton3003

Senior Member
Feb 4, 2017
437
42
28
#3
Your comments on the distinction between profit and greed are reasonable, but your assumption about the nature of Cain's sin is speculative. Scripture simply doesn't tell us clearly the reason why his offering was not acceptable.
Genesis 4:2-7 "...Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, BUT FOR CAIN AND HIS OFFERING HE HAD NO REGARD. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? IF YOU DO WELL, WILL YOU NOT BE ACCEPTED? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door…"

The inference is that, contrary to Abel's helping to bear and raise the sheep, Cain did nothing to grow that fruit; it was already in existence and he just mined it from the ground. He didn't alter the ground in any way so that it would yield the fruit. And to be sure as to God's attitude toward Cain,

Jude 1:11 “Woe to them! For they walked in the way of CAIN and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error.”
 

Dino246

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2015
12,928
6,963
113
#4
The inference is that...
I didn't say you were wrong; I said your comments were speculative. Scripture doesn't specify, so anyone else's guess is as good as yours.

When it comes to using a scriptural theme as the basis for a moral teaching, it's best to ensure that scriptural theme is rock-solid. In this case, it's more like gelatin. :)
 

dcontroversal

Senior Member
Dec 12, 2013
44,321
17,843
113
#5
Your comments on the distinction between profit and greed are reasonable, but your assumption about the nature of Cain's sin is speculative. Scripture simply doesn't tell us clearly the reason why his offering was not acceptable.
His whole premise is faulty...be fruitful was indicative of bearing children not making a profit from some endeavour.....!
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
5,837
2,228
113
#6
I dont know about what God thought of Cains offering as being not of his own efforts because it does say Cain tilled the ground, so he actually was working the soil. And later in the Bible fruit offerings are acceptable at the temple especially firstfruits. So it might be Cain did not give his best, or the fruit that had fallen on the ground. Abel offered the firstlings of his sheep and the fat..but it did not say Cain offered his firstfruits...and they could have been rotten or blemished.

I dont think its necessarily greed or profit motive, cain did not steal abels sheep and offer them. The way of Cain is not just referring to that incident but the fact that he murdered his brother.
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
5,837
2,228
113
#7
Being fruitful is not the same as being profitable and fruit and money are quite different things!
 

newton3003

Senior Member
Feb 4, 2017
437
42
28
#8
His whole premise is faulty...be fruitful was indicative of bearing children not making a profit from some endeavour.....!
Genesis 1:28 "And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful AND multiply'..."
 

dcontroversal

Senior Member
Dec 12, 2013
44,321
17,843
113
#9
Genesis 1:28 "And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful AND multiply'..."
And <--conjunction junction what's your function...HOOKING UP WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES

FRUITFUL AND MULTIPLE = BEAR CHILDREN!
 

maxwel

Senior Member
Apr 18, 2013
8,655
1,880
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#10


I wouldn't say that greed, in it's normal pejorative sense, is good.
But it IS predictable.
And that predictability is what allows business people to do business.



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