“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:6-10 NKJV).
GREED and covetousness are common vices to man, which if left unchecked could ruin one’s life and destiny. They fuel corruption and all kinds of evil in our society. They skew the judgment of judges and leaders alike. Many leaders fail the integrity test due to these twin vices. It is not for nothing that the Bible has portrayed greed as an endless pit that is never satisfied.
“He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity,” (Eccle. 5:10).
“Yea, they are greedy dogs, which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, everyone for his gain, from his quarter,” (Isaiah 56:11).
That covetousness poses a danger to a Christian is seen in the words of Paul and Jesus in the Parable of the Rich Fool. Jesus said: “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses,” (Luke 12:15 NKJV). If Jesus said: “Take heed and beware of covetousness…,” then we better take heed! Paul, on the other hand, warns, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition,” (1 Timothy 6:9 NKJV). The wise would be mindful of these admonitions, meditate over them.
How do we guard against greed and covetousness? First, it is to be conscious of the danger they pose to our spiritual wellbeing. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).
Secondly, we must heed the various exhortations of the Bible about greed and covetousness. Jesus taught: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal,” (Matthew 6:19-20).
The Bible also teaches us about the need for self-contentment. Those who live a contented life spare themselves of the heartache and disappointments that greed and covetousness bring. Paul said: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content,” (1 Timothy 6:6-8).
“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,” (Hebrews 13:5).
Allowing covetousness and greed to rule our lives is an indirect admittance that we do not trust God to meet our daily needs. Riches are good, but avoid placing your trust in them. Boasting about riches is an indication of pride and vanity.