Greed Is Good – Or Is It? What Jesus Would Say to Gordon Gekko

by Jason on May 26, 2010

Do you remember the famous words of Gordon Gekko, the fictional character that Michael Douglas played in the 1987 movie Wall Street?

Greed is good!”

This line has become so famous that even political leaders have used Gordon Gekko’s line in speeches.

Here’s the full quote from Gekko:

Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works.

Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.

Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind

But does greed really mark the upward surge of mankind or does it propel us into a downward spiral that eventually destroys us?

What would Jesus say to Gordon Gekko if he met him in his luxurious corner office overlooking the city? 

We get a sense of what he might say in Luke 12, where Jesus is preaching and teaching to a huge crowd when some random guy shouts and asks Jesus  to help him get his Father’s inheritance that is not being shared by his brother.

Jesus uses this as an opportunity to teach about money and greed:

Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.” 

Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” Luke 12:13-15 NLT

Greed Is Good?

What is Greed anyway? 

Greed is an overwhelming desire to have more of something than is actually needed! 

How often do we think we need new clothes, more shoes, a bigger TV, a better car, a nicer house – I could go on and on.

Greed is an overwhelming desire to have more of something than is actually needed!

So I imagine Jesus sitting in Gekko’s office chair, looking around his posh corner office and saying,

Gordon, you know, you think that greed is good – that all this stuff you have is really what you want – but it’s not.  

Greed is not good – in fact, you really need to guard against it – you need to detach yourself from it!  And I say this to you because I love you and I know what’s best for you.

Maybe he’d say something like this,

Gordon, you are not defined by your work, your office or your investment portfolio – those things never last.  Pursue things that will last!  Pursue True Wealth!

Or this,

Gordon, you think your little empire will make you happy, but you are empty – money is acting as your functional savior - you have no lasting fulfillment – true joy doesn’t come from money, but from a right relationship with me.”

So why would Jesus say things like this? 

Why would Jesus say  “Guard against every kind of  greed”?

I think there are three main reasons – and we’ll save that for tomorrow’s post.

What Do You Think?

Readers, what else do you think Jesus would say to Gordon Gekko?

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