Summary: Our culture is constantly telling us a big lie: "More will satisfy."
What If They’re Wrong Series Exodus 20:17 "How To Be Happy With What You Have"
Today we’re looking at the last of the Ten Commandments "You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour."
• A while ago there was a survey of teenage girls, asking them what their favorite pastime was. By and large, their favorite thing to do was shop. In fact, 93% of the teenage girls surveyed said that shopping was their #1 recreational activity. Not dating, not talking on phone, or chatting on the computer; none of those other "typical" things we expect a teenage girl to do. It was shopping.
Scary, isn’t it?
I don’t bring this up to single out teenage girls - I believe it is indicative of our culture.
It just shows us how materialistic our world is.
Our culture is constantly telling us a big lie: "More will satisfy."
More of whatever it is we desire, whatever we set our hearts on - more things, more pleasure, more respect, more leisure time, more quality time with our loved ones ...you name it.
If we can just get more of it, then we will be satisfied.
We’re subjected to messages that are reinforcing this lie all the time.
We’re constantly being told – especially this time of year - that "more" will satisfy us.
That’s what the world says: More will satisfy.
Of course, God’s advice is different.
He says, "Don’t let goods become your god.
Don’t let your material desires determine your happiness in life."
We’re urged, in the Bible, not to define our self-worth, or find our life’s fulfillment in the things we have or don’t have, whether they are concrete or intangible things.
What exactly does it mean to "covet"?
The dictionary says that "covet" means "to desire something eagerly, especially something belonging to another person."
But the Bible goes further in its definition.
"Covet" in the Bible signifies "an insatiable desire of getting the world; to desire more than enough."
It can also mean "an inordinate love of the world."
A person who covets can love the things of the world so much that he or she will do anything to get them and everything to keep from losing them.
At the heart of this commandment lies a prohibition against greed.
This morning I want to share with you five signs of a covetous person, then I want to share with you three guidelines you can follow to overcome covetousness.
I. Five Signs of a Covetous Person
A. A person is covetous when all he thinks about is his stuff.
What he has isn’t enough. He’s totally absorbed with getting more, whether it’s more money, more stuff, more power, more influence. His mind is almost never on godly things, and when that occasional "godly" thought pops into his mind, the focus of that thought is "what can I get out of it."
B. A person is covetous when all he talks about is his stuff.
Covetous people spend most of their time talking about themselves, their stuff, and how they are going to get this thing and that thing. Very seldom do you hear them talking about God. If you try to move the conversation to godly things, it almost always goes back to where it started: talking about them and their stuff.
C. A person is covetous when he is unwilling to get rid of his stuff.
There’s a story in the Bible about a young man who was rich. He asked Jesus how to get eternal life and Jesus told him to obey the Ten Commandments. This young man told Jesus that he had followed all those since he was a small child. So, Jesus said, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Luke 18:22) This young man went away sad, because he was very wealthy. A covetous person would rather part with Jesus than part with his stuff.
D. A person is covetous when he takes more pains for getting ahead than for getting heaven.
He’ll do anything and everything to get ahead in his position on earth. He’ll lose sleep, work long hours, wine and dine the boss. But he will do nothing to assure his position in heaven.
E. A person is covetous when he overloads himself with worldly business.
He has too many irons in the fire. In this sense he’s a pluralist. He takes so much business on himself, that he cannot find time to serve God. He’ll make time to work at home but won’t make time to pray or read the Bible, or use his spiritual gift to build the kingdom of God.