One of The Beatles first hits was “Can’t Buy Me Love” and the third stanza goes like this:
Say you don’t need no diamond ring and I’ll be satisfied
Tell me that you want the kind of thing that money just can’t buy
I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love
Oh isn’t that the truth; too bad most Americans and many Christians don’t actually believe that. At least they don’t live their lives like that. Need proof?
Open your check book and figure if you’ve given 10% of your income to God.
Hello? You still there?
Well are you talking gross income or net income Bro Dave? That’s up to you, do you want a gross blessing or a net blessing, to borrow Dr. Adrian Rogers’ analogy.
Jesus spent a good time of His first sermon on the subject of money because in His omniscience He saw and knew what it does to a man’s soul. Covetousness is so prevalent in America that it is now the norm. In fact, if you’re in the advertising business and don’t understand this fact, you’re probably not very successful in your line of work. Our Lord knew that we would fret and worry over money and He pulled no punches in telling us to not do so:
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:25-30)
Did you know that if you worry about money it is a sin? Don’t believe me? If Jesus commands us to do something and we don’t, are we disobedient? Of course and disobedience to God’s Word is sin. If Jesus commands us not to do something and we do it anyway, are we disobedient?
I like what Warren Wiersbe says about covetousness and its effects:
Covetousness will not only cheapen our riches, but it will cheapen us! We will start to become worried and anxious, and this anxiety is unnatural and unspiritual. The person who pursues money thinks that riches will solve his problems, when in reality, riches will create more problems! Material wealth gives a dangerous, false sense of security, and that feeling ends in tragedy. The birds and lilies do not fret and worry; yet they have God’s wealth in ways that man cannot duplicate. All of nature depends on God, and God never fails. Only mortal man depends on money, and money always fails.
Okay, then a pauper’s life it is for me! No, don’t be silly. Money is no more sinful and evil than your television set is; it is how it is pursued and used that determines its worth. Remember Jesus’ teaching in the parable of the rich fool?
“Then one from the crowd said to Him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ But He said to him, ‘Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?’ 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.’ 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.’” (Luke 12:13-21)
Are you rich toward God, or is your primary goal in life to become rich? Are you laying up treasures on earth that not only devalue in their own worth, but also cheapen you? Are you for sale?
Well Bro Dave that definitely is not me because I’m happy in my 9 to 5 job and my middle income life. Good! But how do you look at what you have? Are you grateful for it? Do you take care of it? Do you maintain those things you have which need maintaining? In other words, am I a good steward of all the Lord has provided me?
God gave Moses an all encompassing list with He gave us the tenth commandment:
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:17)
Imagine living your life in such a way? I would not look at the things around me and wonder how come I got left out? I would not be envious of someone else’s lifestyle. I would not look at others and think, “Oh they just got lucky in life” and cheapening not only the hard work they may have put in to gain, but I also cheapen myself in that it’s never my fault where I’m at.
Beloved, take it from someone who knows all too well what covetousness can do to you. It not only cheapens all you have and yourself, but it destroys your testimony and your joy.
More on that tomorrow.
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Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers