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COVETOUSNESS IS IDOLATRY – PART 3

From The Heart

Publish date: 05/02/2005

So six days before the Passover Feast, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, who had died and whom He had raised from the dead. 2 So they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those at the table with Him. 3 Mary took a pound of ointment of pure liquid nard [a rare perfume] that was very expensive, and she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped them with her hair. And the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, the one of His disciples who was about to betray Him, said, 5 Why was this perfume not sold for 300 denarii [a year's wages for an ordinary workman] and that [money] given to the poor (the destitute)? 6 Now he did not say this because he cared for the poor but because he was a thief; and having the bag (the money box, the purse of the Twelve), he took for himself what was put into it [pilfering the collections]. 7 But Jesus said, Let her alone. It was [intended] that she should keep it for the time of My preparation for burial. [She has kept it that she might have it for the time of My embalming.] 8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.  John 12:1-8 AMP

 

Six days before the Passover Feast, Mary takes a pound of ointment of pure liquid nard - a rare perfume that was very, very expensive - and she pours it on Jesus' feet and wipes them with her hair. The whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. Judas Iscariot throws a fit over the “waste” of this perfume, insisting that it could have been sold and given to the poor! The only problem was that Judas did not care about the poor one iota and it looked like he did not care about Jesus either. What he did was to reveal his own evil motives and his disrespect for Jesus.

 

Jesus was one of his closest friends. They traveled everywhere together, along with the other eleven disciples. Jesus had spent every single day of about three years with him. Judas had seen Jesus’ miracles and heard His anointed teaching. You would think that Judas would think that Jesus was worth a years worth of wages. You would think that Judas would be blessed by the blessing that Jesus received. But he was not. Instead he was quite angry and upset. In fact, in Matthew 26:6-16, after the woman emptied her alabaster box on Jesus head, Judas was so bent out of shape that he went straight out to negotiate with the chief priests over his planned betrayal of Jesus!

 

How did Judas come to this place in his life that he could go out and make such a terrible choice – to betray a beloved friend? The answer lies in what was hidden - not so deep - in his heart. His responsibility was to keep the treasury bag, which belonged to Jesus and the disciples, but instead of guarding it, he was stealing from it. He was stealing from his closest friends; he had given in to temptation; he had become covetous, selfish, greedy and a liar.

 

When people do things they know are wrong, their own conscience convicts them. At that point they do one of two things: stop, repent and make restitution, or they push their conscience away, hardening their heart, justifying their own actions, and finding fault, instead, with the very people they are sinning against! When Judas gave in to his covetousness and he stole money out of the bag, his conscience was compromised and his judgment skewed. He was now fully in deception. It did not concern him at all that he had betrayed an innocent man, until it was too late.

 

Covetousness is defined in Luke 12:15 (Amplified Version) as the immoderate desire for wealth and the greedy longing to have more. Covetousness will lead you to and cause you to commit sin. The more you yield to covetousness, the more it takes hold of you and the more covetous you become. The more covetous you become the worse your choices become. It is a vicious cycle. Your reasoning is faulty because your paradigm is distorted. Covetousness is destructive to you, your life, and the life of others. A human life is far more precious than material possessions. Possessions can be replaced, but a life can not. Covetousness will make you blind and stupid – it will cause you to value material possessions above a human life. Covetousness causes some people to even commit murder – something they would never do otherwise.

 

What leads to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members? 2 You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3[Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures.  James 4:1-3 AMP

 

It is vital that we eliminate a selfish, covetous spirit from our lives, and the only way to do it is to move in the opposite spirit by being a blessing; working with our hands, earning money, and giving to God and others.

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