"Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you or forsake you." Hebrews 13:5-6
Covetousness, it seems to me, is one of the big engines that drives our capitalist system. For example, new versions of electronics come out several times a year. So why would we want to hang onto our old smartphone, computer, or tablet when there's a new one that does more things faster? New styles in clothes and house decorating have us refreshing our wardrobes every season, redecorating the house every few years.
The system needs us to spend money in this way to keep going and growing. Manufacturers, investors and advertisers are masters at exploiting our natural tendency to want what the next person has, or the newest and best. Their goal: make sure we're never content.
These verses in Hebrews tell us to act, indeed to be, the exact opposite. The various translations add shades of meaning to the simple words of the NKJV.
"Let your conduct..." is rendered "Let your character and moral disposition..." (AMP), "Don't love..." (NLT), "Keep your lives free..." NIV, "Don't be obsessed with..." (MSG).
"Covetousness" is called "...love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]" AMP (I'd say that covers about everything!). "Don't be obsessed with getting more material things" says the Message.
Instead we are to be content. This because God has promised to be with us always. Even if we lose everything, no one can take away our relationship with Him and our hope of a future with Him.
I ask myself, is that enough for me not to need that new car, updated dining room furniture, Caribbean cruise that my friends rave about?
- Our relationship with God enhances it (Proverbs 15:16).
- It can be nourished in any circumstance (Philippians 4:11).
- It makes possible the novel state of being content with one's wages (Luke 3:14).
- With it we can learn to enjoy and appreciate the simplest things in life (1 Timothy 6:6-8).
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked AMP are taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
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