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Covetousness Redefined


Luke 12 13Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14But He said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” 16And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. 17“And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ 18“Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ 21”So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.’”

Jesus mentioned “every form of greed”. When we think of greed, we automatically consider the examples of a ruthless con-man or a wealth builder who spends his life at work without ever attaining enough riches to be satisfied. However, given the example of the rich man in Christ’s parable, we would simply consider this man financially fit with a good retirement pension. What is wrong with our thinking? Jesus continued by explaining his parable.

22And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. 23“For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24“Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! 25“And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? 26“If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? 27“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.” By his explanation, we can regard worry of finances as equalling covetousness. Yes, that’s right… worrying. When we dedicate our life plan to being financially fit to the point we won’t have to be worried… that is covetousness. Should we strive for financial provision? Yes. 1 Timothy 5 says, 8But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Although Paul is speaking of finances at the moment, I would argue that there’s a strong case to be made that if a person sacrifices providing for his family within their spiritual and relationship needs, he is still worse than an unbeliever. We must trust that God will provide, and do our best to provide for our families. If we die with riches and no spiritual or family heritage, we have missed the mark altogether. Matthew 6 31“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32“For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.34“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

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