Jesus Christ made a simple statement which needs to be understood in light of what is happening in the world today. In Luke 12:15 it says:
"Take heed and beware of covetousness; for a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses. "
The key word in this verse is the word "covetousness" which basically means a strong yearning or desire to have something and specifically something that belongs to someone else. In God's original covenant with Israel, this term appears in relation to a number of things as recorded in Exodus 20:17:
"Thou shalt not covet they neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet they neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is thy neighbor's ."
I do not know how much clearer God could make things. Under no circumstances is it allowable to yearn for anything that legally belongs to someone else. If this door stays closed, there is no reason to continue this study; but if the door is allowed to open even a little bit, it will inevitably lead to some very bad things.
Very simply put; if you have an expensive watch that I really want, but do not have the means to get legally, how am I going to get that watch? Logically I will figure out a way to steal it. The easiest (and also riskiest) way to get something that I want but cannot get legally is to steal it. If I sneak in and take the watch, it is calling theft. If I put a mask on and hold a gun to your head and demand the watch, it is armed robbery. The basis of stealing is covetousness and greed.
If I were not so brazen as to literally steal your watch, there are other ways to get it. I could hire a private eye to watch your every move and document things which appear "shady". I could then meet with you and show you the videos which put you in a compromising position. I then would demand your watch or else I would release my video to the media to ruin your life. This is known as blackmail or extortion . The basis of extortion is covetousness and greed.
I could also trick you into believing I have "the deal of the century" that you could buy into for a price. For your watch, I would let you in on the greatest investment scheme in recorded history. Within 30 days your will be guaranteed to make $100,000. All that is needed is your watch. Since your watch is easier to get than money, you give me your watch. I then pack up and leave in the middle of the night for parts unknown. In this scenario, I obtained your watch by fraud. The basis of fraud is covetousness and greed.
The only way to stop covetousness is to nip it in the bud. The minute the desire arises for something that belongs to someone else-STOP IT RIGHT THEN AND THERE. Crush the yearning with the truth of God s Word. Slam the Bible on the creeping crawling vermin before it slips into your heart.
If you don't allow the thought to turn into an actual yearning desire, there is no way covetousness will take hold. Remember that the Word of God contains everything needed to understand and cope with and walk victoriously in this life.
I am thinking about the last part of the verse you quoted: [quote]for a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.[/quote] In Christianity today, this has often been forgotten. Indeed, the Gospel is often presented in a manner which highlights what you can gain from it as opposed to our need for forgiveness. I've never thought about it but could it be that if we are not careful we will even bring covetousness into our relationship with Christ?
Another good message, "b2y." We are not to store up earthly treasures, but those of heaven. It is the love of wordly possessions which drives the greed. If our hearts and minds are proper with the Lord, we should find that covetousness subsides as we go along. Good work!