Don’t Covet Other’s Circumstances

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Heb 13:5).

Pay attention very carefully to what the author is saying. He is saying, “Be content because God won’t leave you.” Or to say it another way, “The one who covets doesn’t see God. He denies the existence and provision of God in his life. The coveter is discontent with God and takes on another or another thing to fill the seeming void.” So we don’t need all the money in the world, because if we did, we would forget God is there and how much we need Him.

Paul hints at the same truth in Philippians 4.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:11-13).

He says he can do all things in Christ who strengthens Him. He is content because He knows God is present. He is not coveting another.

When you have coveted in your heart you have lost your contentment in God. John Piper says in Future Grace,

“The opposite of covetousness is contentment in God. When contentment in God decreases, covetousness for gain increases. … It’s idolatry because the contentment that the heart should be getting from God, it starts to get from something else.”[1]

Or consider what Phil Ryken wrote.

“The truth is that if God wanted us to have more right now, we would have it. If we needed different gifts to enable us to glorify him, he would provide them. If we were ready for the job or the ministry we want, he would put us into it. If we were supposed to be in a different situation in life, we would be in it. Instead of always saying, ‘If only this’ and ‘If only that,’ God calls us to glorify him to the fullest right now, whatever situation we are in.”[2]

This is the heart of contentment. Paul has written,

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (I Tim 6:6-10).

You feel the weight of what was just said? Coveting will kill you. If you crave money – just one example of coveting – you will open yourself up to apostasy and misery. Just ask the top ten richest people in the world if they are at peace and happy. Most of them will say “No!”

Do you believe, do you really believe, that the circumstance that you are in now, is the best possible circumstance under God’s providence for you? Paul says, “You are already there!”

1 Timothy 6.6

[1] Future Grace, pg. 221

[2] Written in Stone, pg. 212

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