Summary: A sermon that proposes a route in life that makes coveting an absurd impossibility.
Thou shalt not covet!
Many of the ten commandments tell us not to do something like thou shalt not murder we got that cleared up in our lives or we wouldn’t be here. We would be be in prison.
But the ten commandment refers to what is going on in your mind and your heart.
Guard your heart says the Bible for it is a well spring of life.
I mean who hasn’t wanted something that someone else has got?
I remember having a little red sports car when I was 18 – I thought it was really cool until someone pulled alongside me in a Morgan plus 4 – I kind of felt I had a lego car compared to that!!!!
People often envy and want other peoples stuff. Often their own gear isn’t good enough for them and they don’t only want someone elses car house or whatever but they want to steal someone elses girlfriend or wife. David did that and he soon found himself a murderer in the coverup. Coveting is a sin and it can be so all absorbing that it can rob you of life – the life that Jesus talks about when he talks of life – Life in all it’s fullness.
This sermon today is more about How not to covet rather than Do not covet.
The opposite of coveting is, of course, contentment – a virtue which the apostle Paul frequently speaks about. While the 10th commandment taught him that he was a sinner (Romans 7:7), the many trials he endured as Christ’s bond-servant taught him to be content in all circumstances (2 Corinthians 12:10). Paul teaches us that we are to be satisfied when we simply have “food and clothing” (1 Timothy 6:6-8), though he himself learned to be at rest even when those items were lacking. “In whatever situation,” Paul experienced true contentment because he had confidence in a sovereign and loving God who promised to supply all his needs (Philippians 4:11, 19).
Because coveting is such a powerful thing I think we need powerful antidotes to coveting so that we can live victorious lives.
Contentment is the ultimate antidote to coveting and I believe that contentment is centered on our relatyionship in Christ.
The three keys to contentment in Christ are these.
Discover the work of the cross in you life.
Live in relationship to Jesus
Understand that your life is given over completely to Him.
Paul Azinger was a great golfer but After winning the 1993 PGA Championship, Paul Azinger felt he had overcome an incredible challenge. But when the doctors found cancer in his shoulder bone, his greatest fight was just beginning.
”, he wrote about his fight with cancer: “A genuine feeling of fear came over me. I could die of cancer. Then another reality hit me even harder. I’m going to die eventually anyway, whether from cancer or something else. It’s just a question of when. Everything I had accomplished in golf became meaningless to me. All I wanted to do was live.”
Then he remembered something that Larry Moody, who taught a Bible study on the Tour, had said to him. “Zinger, we’re not in the land of the living going to the land of the dying. We’re in the land of the dying trying to get to the land of the living.”
Golfer Paul Azinger recovered from his cancer treatments and returned to the PGA Tour the next year and was able to play in only four events. Since then, he’s done pretty well.
Even through his continuing success on the Tour, his bout with cancer has deepened his perspective. He wrote, “I’ve made a lot of money since I’ve been on the tour, and I’ve won a lot of tournaments, but that happiness is always temporary. The only way you will ever have true contentment is in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
I’m not saying that nothing ever bothers me and I don’t have problems, but I feel like I’ve found the answer to the six-foot hole.”
SOURCES: Paul Azinger, “Zinger: The Paul Azinger Story”
I recently read an article by Jill Carattini where she told this story: “A nurse named Melanie was on her way to work when something in the trash bin caught her eye. She was immediately taken with the possibilities in the discarded treasure. It was a cello, slightly cracked in several places, but nonetheless a discard of character, a piece charming to the eye. Her boyfriend, who is a cabinetmaker, also saw the cello’s potential. Together they thought it could be turned into a beautifully distinctive CD holder. The discarded cello was indeed old and it had been abandoned, though authorities are not sure why or how it ended up in the trash that day. But a most shocking revelation to the nurse (and arguably to the thief as well) was the fact that it was not merely an old cello. It is one of only 60 like it in the world made by master craftsman Antonio Stradivari in 1684. The 320-year-old masterpiece, valued at 3.5 million dollars, was stolen from a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra just weeks before it sat rescued in Melanie’s apartment with dreams of becoming a CD holder. In the music world ‘Stradivarius’ is an untouchable description. Neither scientist nor musician understand the difference between the ‘voice’ of a Stradivarius versus the voice of modern violins and cellos, but the distinction is real — and costly. They are the most sought after musical instruments in the world, works of art in their own right, coveted by collectors and players alike. To be in the presence of a Stradivarius is to be in the presence of something great — whether it is recognized or not.”