Watch Out!

By Pastor Teck Uy

The path that believers trek is dangerous. There are many obstacles that are meant to slow them down, if not completely stop them, in their spiritual walk. Indeed, many are sidetracked and fall victim to their own stubbornness and neglect. This is in spite of the many warning signs along the path. No wonder the Book of Proverbs says, “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice” (Prov. 12:15). We all have blind spots and it is too presumptuous on our part to say that we do not need the help of others. It will work well for our own good to seek and to listen to advice as we face all of life’s challenges.

Foremost of the distractions that believers encounter in their spiritual walk is the pursuit of material things. Many are too engrossed in accumulating earthly wealth that they neglect their spiritual commitments. It is for this reason that Jesus warned, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). Unless we guard our hearts, we can easily be engulfed by the love of money. This is a tremendous threat to our commitment to the Lord, because Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matt. 6:24). Needless to say, all of our efforts to enrich ourselves will turn to nothing unless we make the Lord Jesus Christ the master of our wealth. It is unwise to spend so much time accumulating wealth, only to find out that these can all go any minute as a result of misfortune (Eccl. 5:14).

The desire to accumulate wealth is often the result of greed. Many associate money with power; hence, the more money they have, the more powerful they become. Also, they find their security in money. However, we are told in the Scriptures that we have to keep our lives free from the love of money and be content with what we have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). If we fully understand that God is our provider and that he will always sustain us with his loving kindness, we will not pursue wealth in the same manner that the wicked pursue it and become ensnared in the process. We will learn to be content and be more appreciative of everything that we receive from God.

One of the basic commands concerning wealth that we should master is, “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour” (Exodus 20:17). Many fall into the trap of covetousness because they are always looking at their neighbour’s house. Because their neighbour has a better house, they start to despise their own. They look for every reason to justify owning a house just like—if not better than—their neighbour’s, even if this entails becoming buried in deep debts. They are no longer content with the house that they used to be very proud of and for which they had thanked God profusely. Similarly, because they keep staring at their neighbour’s wife, they suddenly lose interest in their own and start coveting their neighbour’s wife.

Covetousness is a basic sin that started in the Garden of Eden. In spite of God’s command not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Eve coveted it because it was good for food, pleasing to the eye and desirable for gaining wisdom. As a result, they were banished from the Garden of Eden. When Achan coveted the beautiful robe from Babylonia and the silver and gold from the plunder in Jericho, which were dedicated to the Lord, he and his household were stoned to death. This is how grave the sin of covetousness is. Friends, there is a need for us to guard our hearts against coveting the things of this world. The apostle John said, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him…the world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:15-17). It is time for us to heed the warning of the Lord Jesus Christ to watch out against all kinds of greed. A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. Hallelujah!