20th-Century Idolatry (Luke 12:15)

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The word covetousness used by Jesus in today’s passage refers to a greedy desire to have more and more material things. It’s a term that aptly describes today’s society. This is a day of stockpiling and amassing as much as money can buy. And our culture seems to encourage this.

Even children are getting an early introduction to materialism. A midwestern bank now issues credit cards to 12-year-olds. This increases the buying power of the young, who are prone to make purchases based on peer pressure. The coming generation will be highly skilled in “keeping up with the Joneses.”

This materialistic philosophy has so dominated our age that it has also influenced the church, as well as the Christian’s lifestyle. Scripture calls this drive to possess more and more things “covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5).

Jesus said that “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses (Luke 12:15). We need to resist the lie that the more we possess the happier and more secure we will be. The remedy is to become “rich toward God (v. 21).

If Christ were to return today, would you leave behind more “treasure” than you have waiting for you in heaven? – Paul R. Van Gorder

Let me hold lightly things of this earth;

Transient treasures, what are they worth?

Moths can corrupt them, rust can decay;

All their bright beauty fades in a day. – Nicholson

Today’s idols are not what we put on the shelf but what we want for self.

  • July 3, 1990, Our Daily Bread