I confess to you that there is one thing I fear more than any other thing in my life: the sin of covetousness, a love for the things of this world, a lust for more and better material possessions.
Covetousness has enslaved the hearts of many Christians. People can’t seem to get enough, and their debt is piling up. They think our nation’s prosperity will never end. Americans have gone mad with acquisitiveness. We are now on a spending spree that has baffled experts.
Jesus warned us to hold lightly to the things of this world. We are to give thanks to him for his blessings and to give generously to the needs of the poor, but we are never to let anything of this world steal our hearts.
Recently, I prayed with a dear sister in the Lord who is dying of cancer; she has been in great pain for many weeks, but what a beautiful testimony she is to all who know her. There is no complaining, no sorrow, no questioning of the Lord’s greatness and faithfulness. She told me she feels a magnetic pull toward Jesus, and that she is now “there with Christ” more than here on earth. She blessed me with her rejoicing hope and rest in the Lord.
I once heard a very righteous minister say, “I just want to finish my work and get out of here.” Some who heard him say this thought he was being unthankful for the gift of life, but the apostle Paul declared virtually the same thing. He wrote, “If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account” (Philippians 1:22-24, NKJV).
God does not want us to feel guilty for his blessings upon us, as long as we keep it all at arm’s length. According to Paul, heaven — being in the Lord’s presence for all eternity — is something we are to desire with all our hearts.