“How is thankfulness the solution for covetousness?”
This question was raised yesterday by Ryan Cummings in a sermon we heard at the Manslick Road Church in Louisville, Kentucky. It was a unique look at both the problem and solution we face in our hyper-commercialized culture.
This Thurdasy we will enjoy our annual Thanksgiving holiday in America, which began in 1621 after the colonists survived the rough first year in the New World and Governor William Bradford proclaimed “a day of Thanksgiving,”
For decades the holiday remained untouched by commercialization. However, more and more stores are open on Thursday. Then people are preparing for shopping bargains on Black Friday, small business Saturday and cyber-Monday. Of course, Christmas soon follows and we are caught up in the rush of shopping for more stuff.
Jesus’ warning is still very real and relevant. “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Lk. 12:15).
Covetousness is a serious sin that the Bible says ought to be “put to death.” Actually, “covetousness is idolatry.”(Col. 3:5) Ryan pointed out that covetousness is a “failure to trust in the Lord’ (Ps 115:4-11). Covetousness “seeks fulfillment beyond God.”
Covetousness expresses itself in various ways depending on our carnal enticements. It may be an inordinate desire for a bigger home, a new car or a better boat. It may be evidenced in lusts for power. Pleasure. Prestige. Or position. Of course, none of these are intrinsically wrong. But become sinful when the pursuit is driven by impure motives.
Covetousness is greed. And greed is not good. Contrary to what our culture encourages.
Jesus came to give us life–“life in all its fullness” (Jn 10:10). Yet the world advertises that fullness is found in material possessions. Conspicuous consumption. And fleshly pleasurable pursuits.
These earthly influences lead us away from God. Away from those qualities that Paul says we ought to clothe ourselves with. Compassion. Kindness. Humility. Meekness. Patience. Forbearance. Forgiveness. And, divine love. (Col. 3:12-14).
The solution to covetousness, Ryan observed, is found in these two words: “be thankful” (Col. 3:15). Robertson says it means to “keep on becoming thankful.” It is continuous in nature. Not a one-time act.
The Greek word for “thankful” is an adjective that contains the word “grace” (charis). Vine declares it primarily means “gracious” or “agreeable.” Thayer says it means “mindful of favors” or “grateful.”
Ryan opined that “thankfulness comes from God’s grace.” Furthermore, covetous people “fail to grasp God’s grace, so they become idolaters.” When we are truly thankful, we are filled with God’s grace.
The 19th-century British preacher John Henry Jowett was right when he wrote, “Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.”
Indeed as The ancient Roman orator and philosopher, Cicero expressed it, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others.”
A truly thankful heart is rooted in God’s grace and expresses gratitude to Him. Shows appreciation to others. And is genuinely humbled to experience Divine favor.
Today, this week, this Thanksgiving Day and throughout this season, think about God’s graciousness. Be filled with grace. Shun greed. And show gratitude.
The result will surpass the most bountiful Thanksgiving dinner. In the words of the Scottish author John Ross Macduff, “Cultivate the thankful spirit. It will be to you a perpetual feast.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
2 responses to “Word of the Week: Thankful”
Well said! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
WOW! How does one express Thankfulness when a miracle happens before one’s very eyes? This morning and for the past week, I have been pondering the quarrel between Paul and Barn-abbas.
My Word of the Week was Reconciliation. I pondered: What evidence is there that Our Mother Paul and Barn-abbas ever reconciled? You see some Christians say they never did and others say they did because Paul writes to the Church in Corinth and says..I want to take Barn-abbas with me as married persons do (and be ONE) as Cephas (1 Corinthians 9:5-6).
Previously, I had looked up the passage online and read a few commentaries. And I was still confused. I asked myself, did Paul simply walk away from Barn-abbas when he chose to go to Cypress? Or did they reconcile shortly there after and did Barn-abbas reappear as Silas renewed and more invigorated, sure of his role as Paul’s faithful sturdy companion? After all, Silas is the Greek word for Woody…sturdy.
Upon waking this morning something very miraculous happened. I went into my tiny office and I noticed my Zondervan Parallel New Testament in Greek and English sitting on my desk. I had forgotten to put it away. Before putting it away, I wanted to look up the passage where Jesus asks Peter, Do you love me? So I opened the Bible and to my wondrous eyes, it opened right on the passage I had been pondering all week–Acts 15:36-41!
I had not opened this passage in the Zondervan at all last week.
As I read how Barn-abbas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus…but Paul chose Silas…I looked up the passage in the Greek Interlinear version…on the adjacent page. And there the word Cyprus jumped out at me.
Now where do you think I’m going with this?
Checking out the Greek word Cyprus…brought me to a website where the author had researched the word “henna”. It turns out the ancient Greeks called the HENNA TREE…CYPRUS.
THANKFULNESS poured out of my whole soul when I discovered that and found out how the Woman singing to her beloved in the song of songs, confesses her love for her beloved by singing: My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms in the vineyards of En-gedi.
This was no mere coincidence, this morning! How can I express my thankfulness other than to say…my eyes filled with tears of gratitude for the way GOD is working in my life!