A punny, but serious, thought on covetousness and the Christian

As we camp out in the wilderness on our way to Canaan’s land we’re going to have to live out life in a contentment if we expect to stay away from a distracting covetousness in our heart.

And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”” (Luke 12:15 – NKJV)

#contentment, #covetousness

(#187) The Proverbs of Solomon 27:20-Enough Is Enough

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 27:20: “Hell and Destruction are never full; So the eyes of man are never satisfied.”

The 19th James Bond movie title seems to express where this Proverb is going, “The World Is Not Enough” (1999). What the eye can see, the heart can covet, and covetousness is an always-open, never-filled hole which is easily dug in people’s hearts. Jesus taught this when He said: “‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.’ Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, “What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?” So he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.’” But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. Then He said to His disciples, ‘Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing’” (Luke 12:15-23). Life is wasted when it is devoted to “more, more, and more!” If profit is not shared, but only invested in self, there is little satisfaction in that business! The hope for change drives the industries of: politics, fashion, amusements, advertising, education.

Covetousness is being stirred up when: poorer people see what richer people have and want it for themselves without paying the price for it; when companies continue to raise profit levels for itself without an increase in quality, quantity, or service of their goods; government wants for itself more of what its citizens have earned; husbands and wives want other partners than God permits in a marriage; children are given things instead of love, and they want to start their independence with all the things their parents have worked for all their lives!

Insatiable, dissatisfied, discontented, unhappy, and voracious, are some of the words that describe this attitude of heart. “Hell” (a.k.a. “the grave”) is never full, for there is always room for one more to die and be buried. “Destruction” (or the ruination of life) always claims another victim. “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” (1 Timothy 6:6-10). If “the love of money” is our driving force in life, there is nothing but sorrow ahead! Doing right is the satisfying reward God gives to all who obey Him (Proverbs 19:23).

The Book of Proverbs also says: “The leech has two daughters-Give and Give! There are three things that are never satisfied, Four never say, ‘Enough!’: The grave, The barren womb, The earth that is not satisfied with water-And the fire never says, ‘Enough!’” (Proverbs 30:15-16). Each of these are fit pictures of the perpetual dissatisfaction in a covetous heart! Indeed “the proud man… does not stay at home. Because he enlarges his desire as hell, And he is like death, and cannot be satisfied, He gathers to himself all nations And heaps up for himself all peoples” (Habakkuk 2:5).

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’” (Hebrews 13:5).

When will you think “enough is enough?”

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #children, #covetousness, #desire, #dissatisfied, #family, #god, #insatiable, #love-of-money, #marriage, #obedience, #profits, #proverbs, #wisdom, #work

(#140) The Proverbs of Solomon 19:10-Robbing Hoods

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 19:10: “Luxury is not fitting for a fool, Much less for a servant to rule over princes.”

“Luxury” describes the pampered life one would expect in someone who has the power of office, but may have little regard for God. Jesus contrasted the Prophet John the Baptist who preached God’s Word to “those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury [but] are in kings’ courts” (Luke 7:25). “A fool” disregards God’s Word and Way, for “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26), thus “a fool” living in “luxury” is unexpected or unintended.

The same can be said for “a servant” to have “rule over princes,” it upsets the natural order. Of the four things that are disturbing on earth, one is “a servant when he reigns” (Proverbs 30:21-23). Solomon later will say such a condition is “folly” (ridiculous): “I have seen servants on horses, While princes walk on the ground like servants” (Ecclesiastes 10:7). Revolution can overturn the order in society, and there are consequences that must be faced. “Class Warfare” seems to always have existed, and is based upon false arguments: (1) zero sum philosophy=the amount of natural resources and wealth are fixed, so no one may become rich without taking away that wealth from someone else. This motivates the “poor” to resent the “rich” and feel they are being left out of a “fair and equal” distribution of wealth. Solomon said there is wealth for everyone blessed by God: “As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor-this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19). There is no limit as to whom or how much God will bless. (2) envy and covetousness=lusting for what the “haves” have without doing their work to achieve it. When those who “have not” train their eyes on what others “have,” desiring to obtain it by evil means, we have an example of what God calls “covetousness,” which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). 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). Satisfaction with what we “have” comes from trusting God to be in charge: “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” (Hebrews 13:5).

When the “poor” are encouraged to covet what the “rich” have, they become “robbing hoods,” whether or not they are members of a political party, labor union, man-made religion, or underworld brotherhood!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #class-warfare, #covetousness, #folly, #fool, #luxury, #practical-lessons, #princes, #proverbs, #servant, #zero-sum

(#86) The Proverbs of Solomon 14:23-No “Communism” Here!

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 14:23: “In all labor there is profit, But idle chatter leads only to poverty.”

Since God established the “work ethic,” where there is no “labor,” there is no “profit” (capital, benefit, earnings). In the Garden of Eden, God gave man a job, “to tend and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). After Adam sinned, God expelled him with a job: “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” (Genesis 3:19).

God’s endorsement of this principle, through Solomon, was: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10); “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” (Ecclesiastes 5:12). A communistic welfare state, which takes from the workers and re-distributes to non-workers, promotes slothfulness: “The desire of the lazy man kills him, For his hands refuse to labor. He covets greedily all day long, But the righteous gives and does not spare” (Proverbs 21:25-26). This proverb is added to Christ’s Law: “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need” (Ephesians 4:28). Another proverb of Solomon is taught in the New Testament: “The person who labors, labors for himself, For his hungry mouth drives him on” (Proverbs 16:26); “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). God’s damnation is upon all efforts to by-pass His “work ethic” principle: covetousness, stealing, extortion, excessive or punitive taxes, scams, schemes, gambling and lotteries (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

Solomon also showed the “vanity” of giving workers’ profits to non-workers: “Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. Therefore I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun. For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; yet he must leave his heritage to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil” (Ecclesiastes 2:18-21). Whatever “profit” that comes from honest “labor” belongs to the “laborer,” and no one else! Losing control of what one has worked for kills any incentive for working. Since God charged men with “work,” Marxism/socialism is a direct attack on manhood, and an enslaving of womanhood who must do man’s work!

“Idle chatter” (empty talk) profits nothing, and destroys people who believe it. All who talk about work instead of working are leading to “poverty” and NOT “profit!” Marxism, and all who follow it, is rebellion against God that impoverishes nations. It has never been a success, and never will! Jesus shows a spiritual application when He said: “’Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.’ Then they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent’” (John 6:26-29). Neither physical nor spiritual “profits” are for those who “will not work!” America was rich as long as it was not a “welfare state” that “re-distributed” the wealth of its workers! All economies bankrupt when workers’ profits are used by non-workers!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #communism, #covetousness, #extortion, #jesus-christ, #job, #labor, #laboring, #lazy, #marxism, #non-worker, #practical-lessons, #profit, #proverbs, #re-distribute-wealth, #stealing, #truth, #welfare-state, #wisdom, #work, #worker

Beware of Covetousness

Anyone who doesn’t believe covetousness is prevalent in today’s society only needs to look at the death toll on Black Friday.

According to a published report, one person was shot at a Myrtle Beach Wal-Mart and several others were injured as “shoppers” ransacked store shelves of other stores in other states for bargains.

This behavior matches Black Fridays in 2008, 2009 and 2010 when there have been injuries and fatalities because of over-zealous striving to have what they want no matter what.

Make no mistake. This behavior is a telling symptom of covetousness. This behavior is motivated by an inordinate desire for things, which is what covetousness is.

We have more things, yet we desire even more things than we have. Entire storage facilities are filling up with the things we have no more room to store in the face of our buying even more things.

Read Rick Kelley’s good article about the phenomenon of covetousness at http://bulletin-digest.com/.

Remember this: covetousness is not age specific. One may fall victim to it at any age! It does not affect just the wealthy: some of those who are overcome by covetousness are poor. Covetousness strikes regardless of race or of any other consideration.

As children of God, we must remember what God told us in Hebrews 13:5, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you,’” (Hebrews 13:5 ESV).

#covetousness, #love-of-money, #things

There’s Rioting in Sections of London, U.K.

After several days of violence and rioting in London, U.K., one searches for an explanation and/or a solution. According to one’s philosophical viewpoint, the interpretation would be skewed, naturally. The paper with the Marxist/Communist glasses freely quotes:

“As Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett point out in The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone, phenomena usually described as ‘social problems’ (crime, ill-health, imprisonment rates, mental illness) are far more common in unequal societies than ones with better economic distribution and less gap between the richest and the poorest. Decades of individualism, competition and state-encouraged selfishness – combined with a systematic crushing of unions and the ever-increasing criminalisation of dissent – have made Britain one of the most unequal countries in the developed world.” (Nina Power, “There is a context to London’s riots that can’t be ignored,” guardian.co.uk, Monday 8 August 2011).

According to Marxism, all humanity is divided economically along lines of the “haves” and the “have-nots.” Everything Communists say and do will emphasize this distinction and magnify “class envy.” Jesus identified a man’s “class envy” of his brother’s inheritance as “covetousness,” which He then condemned (Luke 12:13-21; Galatians 5:19-21). The only “solutions” Communists offer and encourage the “have-nots” to use are violence, rioting, and bloodshed, the very sort of things Barabbas had engaged in (Mark 15:6-7; Luke 23:18-19; John 18:40). And, as in the case with Barabbas, governments, as represented in Pilate, seem to want Barabbas’ on their streets rather than those who preach and teach Jesus Christ!

According to the Gospel viewpoint, however, Jesus Christ came to give His life a “ransom for many” (Matthew 26:26-29), and this Gospel should be preached to “every creature” (Mark 16:15-16). Not until one has been “buried with Him through baptism into death” (Romans 6:3-5) can salvation occur and service to Christ begin. In serving the Lord Christ, those Christians who are “rich in this present age” should trust in God, not material wealth, and learn to “do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share” (1 Timothy 6:17-19). However, those Christians who suffer “in deep poverty” should also “abound in the riches of their liberality” because they, too, should first give themselves to the Lord (2 Corinthians 8:1-5). According to 2 Corinthians 9:6-11, God’s grace will supply our needs when we supply our possessions for His use! “For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have” (2 Corinthians 8:12). Christians do not mourn over what they do not have, nor become prideful in what they do have, because what one has or doesn’t have is not as important as each one’s willingness to serve God! In the churches of Christ, therefore, “class envy” (a.k.a. “covetousness”) should not exist! Certainly rioting, violence, and bloodshed are no part of a solution for a Christian. Those who follow the Marxist/Communist doctrine become criminal to any society seeking to abide by godly principles.
“Preach the word” (2 Timothy 3:16-4:4), even to Marxists/Communists and all those they use for their evil purposes, for “if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch” (Matthew 15:14).
—–John T. Polk II

#covetousness, #london, #marxism, #riots