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Covetousness - A Parable

Lucifer was once an honored angel, a cherub. He was perfect in beauty, full of wisdom, and was admitted to the holy mountain of God, where he walked in the midst of the stones of fire. He was in Eden, the garden of God, of which the one on earth was evidently a copy. His ways were perfect, and God gave him the work of "covering," and also anointed him.

But Lucifer was not satisfied. He was envious of God, he became lifted up because of his beauty; he corrupted his wisdom because of his brightness, and decided upon a course which he hoped would make him equal to God. He went so far that he said, "I am a God, I sit in the seat of God."

To impress upon men the wickedness of covetousness, Christ spoke this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, "What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits! And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided! So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." Luke 12:16-21.

The rich man did not murder anyone; he did not reproach the name of God; he did not violate the Sabbath. He merely decided to build bigger barns in which to store his abundant harvest. Judged by any human standard of conduct, he was not a wicked man. He would not have been judged by a jury of his fellow citizens as having done anything reprehensible. They would have thought him a prudent man who provided for the future. He was one of the "substantial" citizens. Why should any complaint be lodged against him! He was erecting good buildings and deserved commendation for his enterprise

Apparently it did not occur to the rich man that he was his brother's keeper. It did not enter his mind to share with those who did not have much of this world's goods. He had no conception of his responsibility to others. He thought only of self.

The rich man did not consider that the abundance of his harvest presented an opportunity to help others. To him it only presented a problem of how to take care of the abundance. "What shall I do," he said, "because I have no room where to bestow my fruits!" His dilemma could easily have been solved had he considered himself a steward instead of the owner. God had given him the harvest, but he felt no obligation to his fellow men. He did not want to share with others what God had given him. He was intent on enjoying himself for years to come. He would take his ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

Then came the summons. "This night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided!" Had he shared with others, had he given to the poor, he would have been rich toward God, and would have had a treasure in heaven. Now he had nothing. He had not been wise. He was a fool.

Christ knew the evil of covetousness. He had seen it develop in Lucifer until it culminated in a desire to be like God and a readiness to do anything to reach the coveted goal. Beware of covetousness, He warned. It may seem innocent, but its end is death.

Pharisaic Covetousness

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