Summary: Covetousness will cause a person to implode, from which few people survive.
Recently, an elderly woman here in Florida won the $600 million lottery. I am happy for her and diligently looking into my family tree to see if I might not be a distant relative.
I was thinking about this and wondering how many people contributed to this lottery to bring it up to the $600 million level. I am not sure how much a lottery ticket is, but I am sure millions of people contributed to this. Everyone bought a ticket with the high hopes that they would be the winner.
I am not sure what I would do with $600 million, but I think I would like to try it and find out.
Everything you hear today has something to do with money. We have a culture obsessed with finances and it has even seeped into the church, of all places. Everybody wants to be rich.
We have seminars on how to get rich.
We have preacher’s teaching something they call “Prosperity Gospel.”
Commercials galore guaranteeing you wealth beyond your wildest dreams.
Then, we have the government trying to get as much of our money as possible under the guise of some government benefit. I would like Uncle Sam to keep his benefits and let me keep my money. That would be a wonderful and happy agreement.
I want to say right up front that I do not think there is anything wrong with money. If you did not have money, you would not be able to exist. It is not wrong to have money. It is not wrong to save your money for your retirement or something. It is not wrong to try to make money. Unless of course you are trying to print it. Also, it is not wrong to live within your budget. A foreign concept to this generation.
This parable has nothing to do with money but rather our attitude toward money. Attitude factors into everything in life.
In this parable, Jesus is addressing the subject of covetousness. This plague is ruining our country today. Once a person is tangled in the web of covetousness, it is all but impossible to break free.
Everybody wants to be rich and yet nobody wants to bear the responsibility that comes along with this.
We need to understand there are two definitions to prosperity. There is the world’s definition and then there is God’s definition.
The world’s definition has everything to do with external pleasures, which do not last very long at all and are subject to taxation, theft and devaluation.
God’s definition has everything to do with internal pleasures that focus on eternity. “With Eternity’s Values in View,” wrote the hymn writer Al Smith. When God talks about prosperity, His focus is on eternity. Jesus said,
“… A treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.” (12:34).
We must be very careful that we are not adopting the world’s definition of prosperity. Diligently we must search the Scriptures and our own heart to make sure we are all God wants us to be on the subject.
Covetousness will cause a person to implode, from which few people survive.
These parables, especially in the book of Luke, outline for us the rules for kingdom living. This is how God expects us to live.
It all boils down to verse 34.
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Everything rides upon your definition of the word “treasure.” If you are living by the world’s definition, you will face a lot of trouble in this world and in the world to come. However, if you are living by God’s definition, you will find great reward, satisfaction and security. Only God can give this to us.
The thing that affects our treasure is our covetousness. What we need to do is understand what covetousness is and the danger it poses to us and how we, in light of this danger, can overcome.
I. What is covetousness?
This is where we must begin. How we define covetousness will determine a lot about the quality of our life.
The dictionary defines it in this regard.
1. An envious eagerness to possess something, enviousness, envy.
2. A feeling of grudging admiration and desire to have something that is possessed by another.
3. Extreme greed for material wealth.
4. Excessive desire to acquire or possess more (especially more material wealth) than one needs or deserves.
At the core of covetousness is a deep-seated dissatisfaction with what we have. We believe that if we have what somebody else has we will be satisfied. The problem is, we are never satisfied.
Covetousness is of such a nature that it never is satisfied. It always wants more. The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence.