If you’ve sensed that your grocery bills have risen dramatically over the last few months, the observation is mutual. Everyone in the food supply chain from growers to retailers have become the subject of scrutiny in the last while, as economists, businessmen, beauracrats and politicians attempt to dismantle the question of why food has become so expensive. And the concern is real for many who have found putting food on the table increasingly difficult. As I read the numerous reports that are generated in the last while, it became obvious to me that the single suspect in this entire hunt for suspects is that very crafty sin called Greed. Greed distorts numbers, seeks gain, finds excuses, takes advantage of circumstances and creates hardship. The difficulty with trying to pin greed on any one person, company or group of people in this scenario is like looking for dirt in a coal mine – it’s present everywhere, and the blame is set to land on those who can explain themselves least.
Jesus warned us that the defilement of sin is everywhere, because “it is not what goes into us that defiles us, but what comes out of us” (Matthew 15:10-12). If we point the finger at others, the judgment of sin falls first on ourselves (Matthew 7:1-5). We brood over how someone has been rude to us but we forget that we stand guilty before God who sees the rudeness of our heart. We anger over how others are greedy when we ourselves are marred with avarice for material things. We cast blame over how others mistreat us when we ourselves mistreat those around us. For the follower of Christ, He gives us the solution against such defilement – the Word, His Truth that sanctifies us (John 17:17). It holds up the mirror to our sinful estate and teaches us grace when we are wronged. It tells us that our battle is not against the things of this world but the wiles of Satan (Mark 8:33), and we are called to forgive rather than to fight. In the end, I am afraid that our hunt for someone to blame for the struggles that we face – be it food prices or social justice – is a fool’s errand until we realize that Christ is the only Answer to the desperate questions of life. Next time we walk down the grocery isle, let’s pray for our world. And let’s pray that we will make a difference in it as God meant for us to be.