Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 31 : Beware of Covetousness | Day 213

Recognize Temporal Things!

An ambitious couple found their "dream house." It was a spacious home on a wooded hillside overlooking a beautiful scenic valley. The house had been vacant for a few years and needed many repairs. The couple bought it and spent several years and thousands of dollars to restore it to its original elegance. When they finally finished, they made a disheartening discovery. For years, termites and carpenter ants had been at work in the wooden structure of the house, and now its supporting beams were unsafe.

An automobile enthusiast waited for years to finally own the car of his dreams--an expensive sports car with sleek lines and a powerful engine. However, in a few years he began to notice little mounds of rust poking through the shining surface of the car. The salt used to melt ice on the roads was contributing to the disintegration of his car.

Nothing on this earth will last forever. In fact, the entire world is in the process of decaying, and in the end will pass away (see I John 2:17). Soon after we die, even our bodies will return to the dust from which they were created.

Most of us give too much attention to temporal things and too little attention to the things that will last for eternity.

With all of his wisdom and resources, Solomon built magnificent structures for himself and for the Lord. They were world-renowned for their splendor and strength. Yet, today these structures are no longer standing and are part of the rubble of the Jerusalem landscape. We can learn much from Solomon's analysis of temporal things.

“What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? ... The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. ... I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. ... I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: I made me pools of water ... . And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them ... . Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun” (See Ecclesiastes 1:3-2:11.)

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

We do need things such as homes and cars while we are living on the earth; however, they should not be our focus. Covetousness in our lives is revealed by the amount of mental preoccupation and emotional attachment that we develop for things that will not last and that ultimately will not bring fulfillment or give us true satisfaction.

We would be wise to evaluate our perspectives and make a list of the things we tend to covet. Will these things have any value or importance a hundred years from now? Instead of coveting the temporal things of this world, let's recognize that only what we do for Christ will last for eternity, and let's choose to set our affections on “things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).

“… Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard