“And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
Mark 7:20-23 (NKJV)
Greed is no respecter of person. We can hear that played out from a scene in an infamous movie, titled “Scarface”. There’s a scene where the character of Frank Lopez tells the main character, Tony Montana, that the first lesson in their particular illicit trade is “Don’t underestimate the other guy’s greed.” Never a truer word been spoken outside of Biblical text, especially if you’re a guy named Gehazi (2 Kings 5:20). That dude, straight up, pre-mediated just exactly how he was gonna get him some. It’s funny how the “Gehazi Syndrome” has stood the test of time, ain’t it? (This is the part where I tell you to read the entire 5th chapter of 2 Kings for clarity)
There’s something about the 10th commandment that brings a lot of light onto what Jesus says in Matthews Gospel, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” What I mean by that is there are many of us, Christian and not, that are capable of taking a look at our present state, as our center point, spin in a total 360, and find ourselves not very content with it. Within that 360 is stuff you ain’t got, gonna get, or ever keep but you gotta have it. Now when it written years back, Exodus 20:17 went with what was valuable then, but still the command was clear…don’t covet stuff that doesn’t belong to you.
When we do, we kinda water the weed of envy, don’t we? Envy is a terrible point of view to have because it leads to all kinds of thoughts and behaviors. When we take into consideration what Jesus says in Marks Gospel, and the opening passage for today, what defiles us comes from within us. That would make it hard to love your neighbor as yourself, wouldn’t it? Unless you’re comfortable with the knowledge that those adjectives listed in the passage from Mark apply to you. As for me and my house, we’d rather try to shy away from them.
Trust me when I say this, covetousness sees only what it does not have…and it doesn’t have to be material things either. During the summer of 2003, I got see families that qualified for a Norman Rockwell portrait, all the while cleaning up after them as part of my housekeeping duties while I was in the Colony of Marcy. Yeah, a lot of coveting I was doing. “When I get done, I’m gonna get my family to be just like these that I see” was something I would tell myself. Some 19 years later, I didn’t exactly get what I was seeing, but in the midst of all, I am contented with my family, the way they are, anyway.
And I guess it may have been a covetous Cain that went against Abel. We always we see this as the first act of murder, but look at the text again and you might find a hint of “Hmph! Likes his offering but not mine. We’ll see about that” and from there all kinds of new sin plagued the planet. Pretty much everything you see in Mark 7:20-23. Once that bomb dropped on the Creation it would take a God-sized Flood to reign it all back in. Praise God that He ain’t doing that kinda stuff these days…not yet at least.
In 1 Timothy 6, the apostle Paul, knowing his time was coming to a close, hammers Timothy with a list of stuff that just isn’t of Jesus Christ and when he’s done, he’ll make this very true statement, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” (1 Tim 6:6-7) Never a truer a statement made within Biblical context. Unless you were born with a trailer hitch, you ain’t attaching a U-Haul to yourself on the way out. It’s just that simple.
The thing that we should take away from the 10th commandment is that it was given so we would understand that God provides us with what we need, not so much with what we want. That’s because what we want may serve to keep us discontented, and outta that discontentment, an estranged relationship with the Provider. One of those key provisions is peace and as Jesus illustrated in Mark 7:20-23, this is what it looks like with those folks without peace…His Peace.
David would pen his position nicely and it is a fitting way for me to wind this up for today. In Psalm 34:10 we read, “The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.” Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think About This: “Our contentment needs to be not in what we expect others to give, or what we may strive after, but in what God unfailingly provides for us by one means or another.” – Derek Prime