I watch the fluctuations of the stock market and reflect on the effects of fear and greed. A character in a 1980s movie had this philosophy: “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right! Greed works! . . . Greed [will] save . . . the USA!” What foolish thinking!

I think of that occasion when a man asked Jesus to serve as an arbiter and make his brother share their inheritance. Jesus refused the request but went on to do the man a greater kindness. He pointed out the motive behind the man’s request and its consequences: “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15).

Then Jesus told a parable about a man who harvested a bumper crop and began to make plans to increase and enjoy his riches. He concluded: “God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (vv.20-21).

The trouble with greed is that ultimately our goods go. But worse—we go. Better to store up treasure in heaven, invest in spiritual riches, and become “rich toward God.”