Chapter 3 of my ebook The Wrestlings Along the Narrow Path deals with covetousness. Around the middle of the chapter, I wrote about hoarding and told about the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12. I wrote this:
“This has been my practice with my acquisitions of new clothes and bags: when I buy new, I see to it that I unload some to be given away to brethren in Christ who really need them. “
(source: Google images)
Some might think that, to create an excuse to buy more and often, I therefore give away my possessions regularly. One of the attributes of covetousness is to acquire more, and often. There’s no satiating it. The Free Dictionary defines it as “extreme greed for material wealth”. And greed, in turn, is defined as “excessive desire to acquire or possess more (especially more material wealth) than one needs or deserves”. So, do I give away what I have from my probably burgeoning wardrobe so that I can satisfy my cravings to shop and shop? I thank God that is not the case. I’m afraid to commit the sin of greed and covetousness which is idolatry, that is why, I need to wrestle against my flesh’s desires for the Spirit that dwells in me to triumph.
(Just an explanation: I bought that new bag after 6 years of not caring about bags at all. When I finally felt the urge to buy a new one, I wrestled with my heart’s desire to buy the red bag, too. But I knew that buying 2 bags at the same time was more than what I really needed. Our wrestlings must bring us to triumph in the desires of the Spirit as contrary to the desires of the flesh. When I need to buy modest clothes for important occasions, even just simple celebrations at home, I try to give away some old ones).
But these are just simple ways to share and avoid greed and hoarding. There is a far bigger duty that materially-blessed Christians are called for. What I really want to emphasize regarding this chapter is: are we rich towards God? The Parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12 talks about this. Are we rich toward God or do we acquire more and more properties as the Lord continues to pour out His blessings upon us? Do we build more houses and buy more cars and declare that we are so much blessed by the Lord? Every good and perfect gift is from above, but I always feel uncomfortable every time I hear Christians thanking the Lord for having acquired more houses and cars. Even though we have been enormously blessed by faithfully giving to the Lord through our tithes and love offerings, do we really need more houses and cars?
I think about the workers of the vineyard of the Lord (the real ones!) who have given up worldly pleasures and possessions and surrendered their lives to the Lord to regularly fast, pray and preach the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth. They are often hungry, thirsty, and in need of clothing. How about them? I think about poor families, utterly poor and suffer from malnutrition and other diseases, that have not yet heard and received the Gospel of salvation – how about them?
We do our best to help. We give richly to the Lord, for His work, that the Gospel reach the unsaved. We think about them much more than planning to build another house or buying the latest car model. We think about helping poor children getting proper education while leading them to Christ.
17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1 Tim. 6:17-19, emphasis added)
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