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Matthew 26:14  Then one of the Twelve–the one called Judas Iscariot–went to the chief priests  (15)  and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver.  (16)  From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

First of all, we know that Judas Iscariot was a thief and as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it (John 12:6). He was in fact subject to greed.

In the verses above we see that Judas would only act if certain conditions were fulfilled. His delivering Jesus to the chief priests would be conditional on what they would be willing to give him. Although setting conditions is not unreasonable in some cases, here it was a manifestation of the greed in Judas.

Today many believers are unwittingly taught to live conditionally toward God from an attitude of greed. We ask God a similar question. “God, what are you going to give me (especially) if I give you my best?” Even if we don’t consciously pose this question to God, it’s in the back of our minds.

Prosperity teachers, especially when taking offerings, tell us that God will bless us abundantly if we give to him generously. Indeed Scripture confirms this.

2 Corinthians 9:6  Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

However, if we are subject to greed and focused mostly on receiving from God, our motivation for giving can become mixed and displeasing to the Lord. We forget the balance which another Scripture can restore in our understanding of giving.

Acts 20:35  In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

Here Paul gives freely to help the weak, not thinking at all about how God is going to bless him in return. He is not thinking about receiving from God, but rather that it’s more blessed to give—period. And what will be the outcome as we give unconditionally?

Philippians 4:19  And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Believers should beware of greed when they give to the Lord.

“Judas Iscariots” in the Church Today