Summary: Covetousness is wanting the wrong things or wanting the right things for the wrong reason, or at the wrong time or the wrong amount.We live in a culture today that tells us there is always something more, something better, something we have to have in ord
ILL. A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.
- "Not very long," answered the Mexican.
- "Well, then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the American.
The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.The American asked,
- "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"
- "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. I have a full life."
The American interrupted,
- "I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge enterprise."
- "How long would that take?" asked the Mexican.
- "Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years," replied the American.
- "And after that?"
- "Afterwards? That’s when it gets really interesting," answered the American, laughing. "When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!"
- "Millions? Really? And after that?"
- "After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take siestas with your wife, and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends."
We live in a culture today that tells us there is always something more, something better, something we have to have in order to be happy. Whether it is the latest PC or Big Screen TV, advertisers are paid big bucks to tell us we need something more.
The idea of wanting more is found throughout our society is called the Destination Disease. Destination Disease is a disease that says, “I can’t be happy right now. My current situation does not allow me to be happy”. Destination Disease says: I will only be happy when…
- I get a new job, I get a new boss
- I get a new car, I get rid of my old car
- I get married, I get divorced
- I move to a different city/ church
- I get to go on vacation, I win the lottery, I pay off all my bills...
In short, Destination Disease says, “I cannot be happy right now, I want first more of this or of that in order for me to be happy”.
Coveting Defined. What does it mean to covet something? After all is it wrong to simply want nice things? The psalmist said God will give us the desires of our heart. When do the desires of our heart cross the line and become the craving of coveting? I believe coveting can be defined in four ways…
A. Coveting is simple wanting the wrong things doesn’t matter the method.
Wanting control of something so I can be the center of attention, wanting wealth for myself or wanting power without reason – in other words wanting the wrong things.
B. Coveting is; wanting the right things but for the wrong reason.
In the area of leadership, Paul states: if a man desires to be a leader that is a good thing, if he desires to serve His Lord and church with wisdom and a proper attitude – that is good. But if he desires to be a leader just so he can call the shots and pull the strings, that is the wrong thing.
C. Coveting is also wanting the right things at the wrong time.
A couple comes to have a little talk with me - they love God and one another, and they plan to get married in 6 months, after she will get the citizenship – but they want to move in together now – they want the right thing (commitment to God and to one another), but the timing is wrong, they need to wait until they are married to live together.
D. Finally coveting is wanting the right things but the wrong amount
Take money for example, money is not a wrong thing it is part of life – money causes us a problem when we love money to the point that we become obsessed with getting more and more money to the exclusion of building relationships with God and others.