Why is it so few Christians typically include covetousness or greed as evil and harmful desires for which we need to confess and repent in the same way we include adultery or lust? Does not the Bible teach covetousness and greed are manifestations of sin?
In the parable of the fool in Luke 12:13-21 Jesus seized the opportunity to warn us of the dangers of covetousness and greed, which literally means the desire to have more – the constant craving for more. Covetousness and greed are dangerous things, and Jesus teaches us in this parable the reasons why. In verse 15 Jesus said “…Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” So, covetousness and greed blind us to the reality that there is more to life than things.
In the remainder of that parable Jesus tells the story of a rich farmer who spent his life accumulating things and made no preparation for eternity. The farmer’s philosophy was stated in verse 19, “…Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” Jesus called this person a fool. Verses 20-21 state, “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” Someone has said “greed is like drinking saltwater, the more you drink the thirstier you become.” So, covetousness and greed blind us to the truth about eternal things.
Jesus continued teaching his disciples in Luke 12:22-34 not to worry about tomorrow, “But seek his kingdom and these things will be given to you as well.” So, covetousness and greed make us anxious about life, rob us of the peace that comes from trusting God and blind us to the priority of our lives, which is to advance the Kingdom, not acquire wealth.
Therefore, let us confess and repent, and let us learn to exchange what we cannot keep for what we cannot lose. Amen?