Through the week I listen to podcasts in the car as I travel from place to place. For those who do not know what a podcast is, it is a “a digital audio file made available on the internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.”( https://www.google.com/search?q=definition+of+a+podcast&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS779US779&oq=definition+of+a+podcast&aqs=chrome..69i57j0i22i30l9.3758j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 ) It gives podcasters opportunities to express their opinions, ideas, and thoughts, and it can be just about anything such as cooking, child care, even old time radio shows. There are good podcasts, and there are podcasts I would never encourage anyone to hear (Satan always takes things and make use of them in evil, wicked ways). One can hear a diversity of opinions, and unfortunately, one can hear falsehoods and lies as well.
One podcast I listen to each week is by Dan Winkler and Robert Hatfield, called “Today With Jesus.” This last week they shared a lesson entitled “What would Jesus say to those struggling with contentment?” I would like to share some of these thoughts with you.
As we consider ads on tv, radio, the internet, on our phones. . . someone is always trying to sell us something that can make us happier, healthier, richer . . . These ads suggest that we are not content, and we need that special product to be happy people!
In Hebrews 13:5-6 the Bible says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
Ecclesiastes 5:10-14 says, “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity. When goods increase, They increase who eat them; So what profit have the owners except to see them with their eyes? The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, Whether he eats little or much; But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep. There is a severe evil which I have seen under the sun: Riches kept for their owner to his hurt. But those riches perish through misfortune; When he begets a son, there is nothing in his hand. As he came from his mother’s womb, naked shall he return, To go as he came; And he shall take nothing from his labor Which he may carry away in his hand.”
The idea in both passages expresses the fact that riches, wealth and things of this earth cannot really satisfy the human soul and spirit. Hence, we find warnings after warnings about the SIN of covetousness. What can we learn about covetousness from the Scriptures?
COVETOUSNESS IS IDOLATRY. (Colossians 3:5) Idolatry comes in a lot of different forms, and we fail to see that it is idolatry that causes us to make bad decisions. To get what we want we sometimes compromise truth – we lie to gain something we want. We treat others in less than humane ways to gain what we want. Moses stressed that one could commit adultery by coveting the wife of another man (Exodus 20:17). We are willing to betray God for something that we think might please us. Covetousness, we think, is about money or goods, but it also rears its head in desiring acceptance more than serving God.
COVETOUSNESS CLOUDS OUR JUDGMENTS. In Proverbs 12:12 the wise man wrote “The wicked covet the catch of evil men, But the root of the righteous yields fruit.” Man can become so blind by covetousness that we covet what evildoers do to gain what they gain.
COVETOUSNESS IS A LIE! In Luke 12:15-21 Jesus “said to them, Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possess.” As you read the context the word “I” is used six times, and the word “my” is used 5 times. He wants more for himself – to give him “security(?).” Yet he had no more days to live. Selfish people do not see anything but themselves.
COVETOUSNESS DECEIVES US BY MISPLACING OUR UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT IS IMPORTANT. Paul warned Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:6-10, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
COVETOUS PEOPLE NEVER STOP – LIKE A FIRE THEY KEEP GROWING. In Proverbs 30:15 the wise man wrote “The leech has two daughters, give and give.” They want more and more and more. And they expect others to give to them when they ask.
COVETOUSNESS IS DESTRUCTIVE. In Joshua 7 we read the story of Achan, who stole some of the accursed things in the destruction of the city of Jericho. Because of Achan’s sin, the children of Israel were defeated in the battle against Ai. David lusted after and took Bathsheba as recorded in 2 Samuel 11-12. Ananias and Sapphira lied as recorded in Acts 5, after Barnabas had sold all he had and donated the money to the church. They, perhaps, had wanted to be praised and honored as Barnabas, but they lied about giving it all to the Lord. Indeed, one can be covetous of acclaim and honor; and other things than just money and riches.
COVETOUS PEOPLE MISUNDERSTAND THE PURPOSE OF RICHES. When we consider why God gives us our jobs and the ability to buy the things that are necessary, we must realize we are not to hoard these things for ourselves. God’s people see riches as opportunities to help others.
THE COVETOUS HAVE PLACED THEIR TREASURES HERE. Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21). Hence, the covetous are tied to this world, not the one to come.
FINALLY, COVETOUS PEOPLE DO NOT UNDERSTAND SELFLESS SACRIFICE, THEREFORE THEY CANNOT REALLY UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL. The gospel is about God and Jesus making the ultimate sacrifice for all of mankind. Jesus, while here on earth, encouraged his disciples (that’s us) to be willing to make the same sacrifices. Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life[ will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-25). In Philippians 2:3-4, Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Beloved, one of the reasons why we may not be content is because we want more of this world. We need more of Christ, not more of the world.
God willing more next week.Tommy Tidwell
THE LEAST CONFESSED SIN
A fly landed on a nice strip of gooey, sweet-smelling fly paper. Quickly surveying the situation and not seeing a challenger in sight, he happily announced, “My fly paper!” Sinking his nose in the syrupy stuff he dined sumptuously. Then he blissfully snoozed in an “after-dinner” siesta. Afterward, deciding to leave, he began to hopelessly beating his wings against the air. . . then the paper announced, “My fly.”
That’s often the way it is with man and his possessions. Man surveys his accumulations and proudly say, “My possessions!” The possessions knowingly wink at each other and whisper, “Our man.”
Francis De Sales, reputed to have heard more confessions than any other Catholic priest, said that the sin of covetousness was never one time confessed to him. We wonder how often it is confessed to God! This is the problem with covetousness . . . it is seldom even recognized by the victim. Yet, thousands submit to its dictates.
Covetousness says: You have opportunity to make extra money Sunday. You need it. Don’t go to church! Man replies, “Yes, Master.”
Covetousness says: “You’ll have to compromise your convictions and be a shade dishonest in this business transaction. But that’s business. Everyone’s doing it these days! Man replies: Yes, master.”
Covetousness says: “Living expenses are high. You deserve a nice vacation. You’ll have to cut your contribution to the church!” Man replies: Yes, Master.
Covetousness is easily camouflaged. Most of those who are guilty refuse to face it. Jesus preached about it. And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. (Luke 16:14). Lovers of money scoff (or at least “shut out”) the preacher who warns them of their sin. They need to hear the words of Jesus as he addressed the Pharisees: “Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knows your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God (Luke 16:15). Covetousness always carries one away from God. The psalmist wisely prayed: Incline my heart unto your testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things and revive me in your way.” (Psalms 119:36,37).
Covetousness is Satan’s home field. In this park he has won some of his most stunning victories. Covetousness is to the soul what cancer is to the body. Now wonder Jesus said, “. . . Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. (Luke 12:15).
Joe R Barnett Via Forest Park Church of Christ Valdosta, GA July 18, 1985