Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Coveting

A few days ago I heard a happy female voice on the radio selling the Washington State lottery. She was saying how happy the two women who won over $600,000 were. It is very simple. A little money means little happiness, more money, more happiness, much money much happiness, most money, most happiness. No, that is close, but not exactly right. This money also has to be free, sudden, and a lot in order to generate this kind of happiness. It is called the lottery. What are the chances? Very slim. The odds are great. Of course, that’s what makes the payoff so big. We want a lot of free return from a very small investment.

If the odds were 2-1 that means you might get $4.00 for your $2.00 bet. On the other hand, you might lose your $2.00.

Do you know what God calls it? Coveting! There are three kinds of coveting in the Bible. The first is found in the Ten Commandments.

"You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." Exodus 20:17

That means wanting your neighbor’s stuff. That is sin.

The second is found in several stories in Luke where the coveter is coveting his own stuff. That is sin.

The Rich Ruler- Luke 18:18-29
The Rich Fool- Luke 12:13-21
The Prodigal Son- Luke 15:11-31

The third is described in Colossians 3:5

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5

This is idolatry! This is sin!

We find this greed in 1 Timothy 6:10
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

Playing the lottery or casinos or poker are expressions of this sin. However, we can have this sin by wishing through catalogs or stores or doting on our own car, house, or bank account.

Let’s call it sin, confess it and forsake it. Coveting does not need physical action in order to exercise it. It is in the heart.

He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean." Mark 7:20-23

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