Be Thankful For What You Have, Envy and Greed
In today’s world, especially now with constant adds in your face about the newest and greatest gizmo, or gadget, car, phone, or anything else you could desire, there is always something new out there we want. This doesn’t just cover the things you can buy small, but the big stuff also, houses, or even significant others. What is it about our society that we think such things are disposable? What is it about the way we live our lives that tells us it’s okay to up and walk away from commitments of any kind? It’s sad that in some states there’s actually ways to get a speedy no fuss no muss divorce. Don’t like your spouse, it’s okay, just divorce them, throw them away, and find yourself the upgraded, newest, and improved model. Decide you don’t want to pay your fair share anymore, that’s okay, no worries, the laws aren’t designed to keep things fair. You can walk away from a house and destroy your credit, along with someone else’s, but it’s okay, instant gratification, instant happiness. Well, I’m here to tell you this is all one big fat lie. This is Sin at its finest. This is greed, and lust, gluttony, and selfishness. Luke 12:15 “Then he said to them, ‘Watch Out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’” We are a nation of abundance and collections. Understanding it’s okay to collect things, and have things, what’s not okay is when you turn those things into idols. Exodus 20:17 ”You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” The Author of exodus is not talking about your next door neighbor, no, he’s talking about your fellow human beings. Do not covet. Just as it’s written, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is referring to everyone. When we covet or lust for something we are in active sin.
I’ve lived all over the world and I’ve seen poor. When I was in Korea and I saw the poor standards of living, to the point of tin shack houses, barely have running water, and in some cases where I lived there was no running water. When I was in Iraq there was trash in the streets, the rivers were filthy with human feces and trash everywhere from the streets, to the waters. The sheer level of dirty was almost unimaginable. Growing up in the United States I had quickly come to realize how gratifying it was to have the basics of sanitation, food, electricity, air conditioning, and cars. Some families overseas can’t afford more than one car, and the car they have certainly isn’t the newest model. In Korea labor starts young. But even then, many of the people I met weren’t Koreans. There is a version of ‘legal’ human trafficking that’s appalling. Many Pilipino women are coerced into moving to Korea to provide money for their families back home. What they rarely know is the line of work they will endure is an exploitation of their very body. Some perhaps enjoy the work, others do not. As they have signed contracts they are legal subservient to the land lady.
When we make a conscious choice to destroy a home, we do more than break the hearts of everyone involved, but we hurt our Father Abba. Someone once told me “being the person a married man cheats with isn’t so bad. I’m not the one cheating, that’s his choice.” This sentiment breaks my heart. It’s a slippery slope to be one once you start blurry the lines of right and wrong like that. If you can find a way to justify the enabling the destruction of a home, the fall into complete sin is just a blink away. Why do we want more then what we have? Why are we not content with the life we have, the things we have, or the gifts God has given to us? Sadly the answer is found in James 4:2 ESV “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.” I am reminded to the Greek tale of Troy. Two countries go to war for 10 years. Allegedly the princess was stolen away and angered one side and caused the war. Alliances came to each side’s aid and as bloody battle after bloody battle were waged both sides lost countless warriors. All of this was over greed, and lust. A woman. Have we come any farther in the last 3000 years? Sadly the answer is no. Human behavior isn’t much different today than it was back then. We still fight, we still lust, we still covet, we still steal what we want.
It’s a strange feeling you get when you know your home has been broken into, or someone strange has been there. Knowing your things were gone through, knowing something you cherished has been taken or tarnished, it’s a horrible gut wrenching feeling. Knowing there has been a deep violation of your home, your trust, your beliefs, it’s hard to turn a negative focus into a positive light. In the heat of the moment it’s very difficult to believe in anything else, but how badly you feel. In the heart of the matter there is a great deal more that could make life far worse, but it’s hard to focus on that when you are metaphorically speaking, hit in the face, or blindsided. When you break your finger, at least you didn’t break your hand. When your home is broken into at least it wasn’t burnt to the ground. When your spouse has an affair, at least there were no kids involved. It’s never easy to stomach any of those things, but the ability to come to grips with how the situation is not worse almost makes the current situation more manageable. The belief that someone has it worse, or you’ve been through worse is sometimes far removed from our thoughts, but often in order to survive the onslaught of attacks, these things could become a saving grace.
The perpetual positive attitude is not usually a given or natural trait. This often takes a lot of time, a lot of prayer, and a close walk with God. This is not always easy, and is nearly always easier said than done. Knowing that this life is temporary, and stuff is just stuff, people are just people, and God is the true importance in our lives will always get you farther in life then you ever thought possible. No matter the storm if you have a strong solid foundation in Christ nothing can remove you. As much as the loss of a loved one, a house, all your worldly possessions hurts, it’s the eternal salvation and life in perfection forever is what’s worth everything we have. No matter where you are in life, whether you’re the one loosing, or you’re the one taking, taking what doesn’t belong to you, or taking away someone’s joy shame on you. Justice will be served. If you are the one loosing, be patient, such as Job lost everything, to be faithful is to be renewed. God will forever renew your spirit, and replace what was lost. If you are faithful not only will God bless you, but He will bless you abundantly. 2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound towards you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in a things, may abound to every good work;” Don’t give up hope when you feel you’ve lost everything, just remember that no matter what you’ve lost, God has the power to renew. Nothing with God can be broken forever. Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of god, and his righteousness’ and all these things shall be added unto you. Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. God always keeps his promises.
Ladies and gentleman it’s not okay to lie, steal, and cheat. It’s not okay to toy with someone’s emotions. It’s not okay to take what doesn’t belong to you. It’s not okay to want and want to the point that’s your sole occupying thought. In some places I’ve been even electricity was a rare commodity. Women where betrothed and could be stoned to death for adultery. Men could be punished for stealing such as getting a finger cut off or worse. These things are common place in the middle east. So to Americans, by an American, stop being spoiled brats. Instead of thumbing your nose up at others around you, how about you put that nose in the Bible and get a true idea of how to get your compass to point north. It’s not funny to have your heart broken. It’s not fun to have your house broken into, your property vandalized, it’s hurtful, and not necessary. Just be nice, it really isn’t that hard, and I promise, it won’t kill ya.