The drawing of the person on the left doesn’t even resemble the one on the right, and they are headed in opposite directions. Â The one on the right is a complete “about face” from the one on the left. Â Sometimes, people of God don’t even seem to resemble who they are supposed to resemble, which is the Lord Jesus Christ. Â They do an “about face” and head in the opposite direction, not toward the Lord but away from Him.
Thanksgiving Day is a day that we thank the Lord for His many blessings He has bestowed upon us as His children. Â I have seen and heard reports of people who have shoved employees out of the way to rip apart the plastic on pallets of on-sale merchandise during Black Friday sales on the day after Thanksgiving. Â Some were fighting over towels priced at $1.50 each and throwing them in buggies a few feet away. Â This is right after the very day on which people were supposed to be thankful for what they “have” and here they are shoving people out of the way for more “stuff”. Â Of course, we could rationalize this away and say that all these people were not people of God, but that we would be an exaggeration to say the least. Many of these were children of God. Â However, they did an “about face” and fail to resemble what lies inside. Â If they are children of God, they have been created in the image of Jesus Christ; thus He resides on the inside.
Why would people of God act so impolitely that they fail to resemble the image of Jesus Christ? Â I believe it can be answered in the last one mentioned of the Ten Commandments Â which says, “Thou shalt not covet”. Â Covetousness is greediness, desire and lust for what does not personally belong to a person, and the temptation to have that desire fulfilled is so strong that behavior overrides common sense. Â Jesus makes it plain that a man’s life is much more than having material things. Â Jesus taught the people, “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Â (Luke 12:15). Jesus illustrates this futility of covetousness by the parable of the rich man and his barns which he intends to tear down and build bigger so he’ll have enough room to store his goods. The Lord calls him a fool and his soul is required of him that night. The ultimate truth of this lesson is summed up by Jesus as He says, “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Â (Luke 12:21)
The opposite of covetousness is contentment. Â Contentment doesn’t lead to an “about face” and going in the opposite direction as demonstrated on Black Friday. Â It leads to a conversation (behavior) that resembles who lies on the inside, and this is possible because we have the promises of God that are in Him, yea and Amen. Paul gives us the reason for contentment rather than covetousness in Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Â The promise of God is that He will never leave or forsake His children so why covet that which may be here today and gone tomorrow.
Paul writes to Timothy and tells him what to say to those who are rich in this world: “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;” Â (I Tim. 6:17). Â Paul never had a lot of material things in his life, yet he was rich in the things that counted. Â Many today may be like Paul in that they don’t possess a lot of this world’s goods but are content with what they have. Â “As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” Â (II Cor.6:10). When covetousness is the prevailing attitude, it is impossible to live in contentment. Many today seem to not have learned what true riches are but are continuing to do an “about face” and head in a direction not pleasing to God. May we all learn the lesson that Paul had learned. Â “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Â (Phil. 4:11)–November 28, 2012–Elder Larry Wise