Greed and Ingratitude

Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales present lessons for us to contemplate and take to heart. We can learn a great deal by looking closely at these stories and what Scripture would say about them.

In The Tinder Box, the solider threw away his silver coins for gold ones. He also stole the tinder box, refusing to give it to the witch as he’d promised. Instead, he drew his sword and cut off her head. (See the excerpt on page 34 of Hans Christian Andersen Illuminated By The Message.)

We notice that the soldier failed on several levels. He didn’t value the coins he had. He used the witch for his own gain. He took money, and more importantly, a life. He let money lead him down a path of greed and brutality.

How often do we abandon a gift in search of more? We hold something precious but quickly brush it away when we’re aware of a better one. Whether it be a possession or a friend, the item or person was treasured only until a newer, bigger, shinier one came along.

In the Old Testament book, Habakkuk 2:5-8, it says that money deceives:

“Note well: Money deceives.
The arrogant rich don’t last.
They are more hungry for wealth
Than the grave is for cadavers.
Like death, they always want more,
But the ‘more’ they get is dead bodies.”

Money isn’t the only thing we steal. How often have we robbed someone of their confidence, credit due to them, or joy?

This season of Lent offers an excellent time to examine our conscious and honestly recognize the blessings we have and don’t appreciate as well as what we have taken from others and how we can set things right.

(Hans Christian Andersen Illuminated By The Message was selected along with the rest of the Portals to Prayer Series, for the June 2017 U.S. Catholic Book Club. The book is available from ACTA Publications,, and my website.)



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