Greed - also known as avarice - is essentially all about "stuff". It’s nice to have "stuff" but greed is what happens when wanting that "stuff" becomes more important than anything else.
One of our favourite masters of avarice is Ebenezer Scrooge, although it’s probably a bit sinful to say I prefer him as the splendid old curmudgeon he is at the start of A Christmas Carol.
Of course we do avarice quite well in the modern world too.
We’ve all decided that we need our £2 more than some Big Issue seller does and moments later are tempted spend it on a banoffee latte or something equally "essential". Still, greed isn’t all about money. Power and status are other things we can be avaricious about.
Technically, that more or less means everyone in a position of power or influence is at least a bit avaricious, unless they somehow got there by accident. It’s an alarming thought, especially when you consider that other bad behaviour associated with avarice includes theft, bribery and corruption.
But what if all we want is a new handbag? Is that greedy? Well, technically, yes, and deep down we know it - that’s why we use the term “need” to justify owning a vast collection of seemingly identical items.
“Yes I know I’ve got several bags that size, shape and make, but I need one in black with chrome trim.”
But as usury is considered part of this sin and all that really means is selling something for more than you bought it for, let’s not take it too literally. Otherwise, shops, EBAY and indeed the entire global economic system are sinful and that doesn’t sound right (unless you are one of those boutique organic shops that charge about £25 for a tomato, there must be something wrong about that).
Here and now, making money is fine. You can even spend it on yourself, you probably deserve it. Just try and spread it around a bit, rather than hanging around in cellars counting it.
Now that would be greedy.