Summary: This sermon deals with greed and covetousness. When do we say we have enough?
How Much Is Enough
I can remember as a kid, sometimes we would go over to a person’s house, and our mother would give us that stern warning, "Now don’t you all be acting greedy when you get over there." So there were several occasions in which the person would say, would you like some more, and even though deep down inside I wanted to say yes, if Mom was around, I was able to say ,"no thank you." Whenever we went over to someone’s house, the first thing we were asked by mom, was "did you eat anything over there." If you said yes, you knew the next words were going to be, "didn’t I tell you not to be greedy."
There is a verse in the Bible that warns us about being greedy in Proverbs 22. It says not to eat too much food of a stingy man, because even though he may tell you to have some more, go ahead and eat , in reality he’s counting the cost and his heart is not with you. Many of us are some times like that stingy man. People come over and we tell them to eat, eat, and have some more. No sooner than they are out the door, we get on the phone and say, "child those were the greediest people I ever met, they about ate me out of house and home."
What is greed? Greed goes beyond eating too much. Greed is wanting more than what’s needed or wanting something that belongs to another. We live in a society that runs on greed, encourages greed, and uses greed to keep us in bondage. We even feel good when we can satisfy our greedy nature. Let’s suppose for a moment that Aladdin showed up with his magical lamp. Suppose the genie popped out, and said okay, you’ve got three wishes. What shall it be. Think quickly. I wonder how many of us asked for things such as a more godly character, a more forgiving spirit, a more servant like attitude, or to be more generous in our giving.
What probably came to the minds of many were a bigger house, a nicer car, designer clothes, better jewelry, a lot more money, and a lot more free wishes. It’s amazing that we can be perfectly happy with something, until we go and find out that someone we know, has something slightly better. A kid is happy playing mortal combat 2, until they find out that John up the street has just gotten mortal combat 3 that has an extra feature lacking in version 2. An adult is happy with her three bedroom house, until her younger sister gets a five bedroom house with all new appliances. A man is happy with his new Ford Taurus until his next door neighbors pulls in with a new Lexus.
A man or woman is happy with his or her spouse, until he or she sees another person who shines in the area that his or her mate is lacking. A pastor is thrilled that his church added 25 members last year, until he finds out that the pastor down the street added 25 each month. A woman loves the engagement ring her boyfriend gave her, until her co-worker comes in with an engagement ring with 3 times the size of the diamond that she has.
The bible calls this desire to have other things covetousness. We’ve seen that verse in the Bible, thy shall not covet. It says you shall not covet your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s wife, your neighbor’s servants, your neighbor’s ox or donkey or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.
To covet means to have a strong desire for something , or to be envious of another person. You either want to get what belongs to another person, or you refuse to be happy until you can get your own.
There is a big difference between the excitement of wanting to get something, and the actual feeling you have once you get it. No matter how much things promise to satisfy us, they always fall short. Sooner or later, we’re out chasing something else. Often times we have not finished payments on the last item that we just had to have. All of us have items that it seemed like we just had to get it, but now we don’t know why we desperately needed it because we never use it. How do we get out of the need to have to have the latest, the biggest, the best, and the name brand.
It begins with the realization, that greed is not motivated by God, but by sin. If a person trusts you with their property, if they loan you their lawn mower or toaster on Tuesday, what’s going to happen if they ask for it back on Saturday. Most of us believe that God can trust us with a million dollars. I’m convinced that if God gave everyone of us here in the church a million dollars today, over half of us would not be in this church a year from now. Half of that half that left wouldn’t be in any church a year from now.