Covetousness

“Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Luke 7:15

This is one of the red flags our Lord hung out which most people nowadays do not seem much to regard. Christ said a great deal about the danger of riches; but not many persons are afraid of riches. Covetousness is not practically considered a sin in these times. If a man breaks the sixth or eighth commandment, he is branded as a criminal and covered with shame; but he may break the tenth, and he is only enterprising. The Bible says the love of money is a root of all evil; but every man who quotes the saying puts a terrific emphasis on the word “love,” explaining that it is not money, but only the love of it, that is such a prolific root.

To look about one, one would think a man’s life did consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. Men think they become great just in proportion as they gather wealth. So it seems, too; for the world measures men by their bank account. Yet there never was a more fatal error. A man is really measured by what he is, and not by what he has. You may find a shriveled soul in the midst of a great fortune, and a grand, noble soul in the barest poverty.

The first thing is to gather into our life all the truly great and noble things of character. Here are two texts to ponder, because they settle this question:

“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report … think on these things”

“Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity.” Notice there is no encouragement to think on possessions, no exhortation to add possessions.”