“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15)
In the words from Luke’s gospel, Jesus cautioned us about the dangers of greed and worldliness. Our media dominated culture these days would outwardly agree with His pronouncement, but in practice it openly commends the pursuit of money, fame, and possessions. Many of those who promulgate the contemporary cultural worldview, who demand that we all share our wealth with the poor and the needy, are among the wealthiest celebrities, tycoons, and politicians who accumulate their riches by feeding off the rest of society. They may want other people to share but do not so themselves.
Now Jesus was not saying that having possessions and wealth is sinful. The problem is the way we use them. If we accumulate them to make ourselves feel important or superior, or because we think they will fulfill us and give us peace, we are, as Solomon said, chasing after wind. If we accumulate possessions and wealth at the expense of others, if we destroy relationships, and hurt or alienate others in our pursuit of the so-called good life, we reap sorrow and meaninglessness.
Jesus wants us to not give way to doubt or succumb to temptation when we see the alluring temptations presented by the media. Greed is a great destructive force that afflicts almost everyone even Christians, a sin which the Lord condemns: “You shall not covet”. Yet we are too influenced by the ways and trends of the world that assault us through the media to heed this command. When we look at others prospering, when we hear the captivating words of those who proclaim that peace and self-fulfillment is found in sensuality, we are tempted to compromise, to want what everybody else has. It is so easy to sin when we buy into the lie that we wind up missing out on the important issues of life in service to the Kingdom of God.
Jesus reminds us that the life He gives us is the most important issue of existence, not money, fame or sensual pleasure. Jesus tells us that as long as we trust Him, we should not worry or fret because He will supply us with everything we need. So when we think about how we are to spend God’s money and use the talents and resources He has given us, we must not copy the ways of the world. Neither must we serve our own desires. We should always be mindful that since we have been called into God’s kingdom we must then carry out the work He has given us with gladness and peace. The entire resources of His kingdom are at our disposal. We are to use those resources not to glorify ourselves or increase our personal prosperity or prestige but build His kingdom, not ours.