And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” – Luke 12:15
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” – Exodus 20:17
The Bible has plenty to say on the topic of covetousness, the above are a few verses. The biblical concept of covetousness centers in not only on the desire to have things you do not possess, but the desire for things others possess, and especially things possessed by those close to you. It ties up greed and envy in an ugly little package and it is a package sitting on your front doorstep. We want things, and since we see them most often, we especially want those things our friends have, our neighbors have, or others in our family have. What makes covetousness especially harmful is not only the greed for things, but the hurt it would cause if you were to try to satisfy the desire by taking something away from someone close to you. The issue of covetousness is addressed in the tenth commandment. I think the Lord put it there in the event someone (like any of us) were working through the list and feeling pretty good that you got through nine and were doing fine. I think the tenth one is almost like an umbrella statement for when someone thinks they have pretty much lined up with and are behaving as the Lord would want them. If you are honest with yourself (and you know you cannot fool the Lord), you know you are not going to get through the tenth commandment unscathed, most likely you will be pretty banged up before you are done reading it.
Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith? “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. – Luke 12:22-31
The real tragedy of covetousness comes through in the above passage out of Luke. It is the behavior of the world, not of a child of God. The Lord is abundant in His provision of our needs, even if He is ignoring our wants. We get enough to get by in this world as the Lord would have us live in it if we only trust in Him. The Lord’s provision is enough for it is what He would have for us. How could one of His children want more? I am not saying there isn’t hunger or pain or need; a trial of such nature may be in the Lord’s will for us as He molds us and teaches us, or uses us to minister to and reach others. But by faith we need walk as though the Lord has provided enough for us, for in His perfect will He has.
If you are trying to satisfy your wants and desires, you are in for a world of hurt as you enter a world filled with covetousness. It is filled with your covetousness, and that of those around you seeking to slake their own worldly thirsts and satisfy their earthly hungers. A bunch of highly motivated and completely unsatisfied people seeking out that which counters the Lord’s purposes and openly defies His will. A circular life for you are not going to get anywhere but you will spend much time and effort going round and round. The only way out of that rut is to meet the Lord on His terms and follow His path.
Living a life of faith that is satisfied with the provision of the Lord may not necessarily protect you from the covetousness of others. But you have what others cannot take away. Your salvation. Your personal relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior. Your knowledge, steeped in your faith, that the Lord will provide for you allowing you to prevail through the trials of this earthly journey.
Enough is enough when it comes from the Lord. Seek Him out and pray for the wisdom and discernment to see that in your life. Learn that enough is enough. For those who seek out their wants, and chase futilely after them will one day try the Lord’s patience to the point at which He may well say “Enough is enough!”
Then they may well learn that context is everything.