October 20 – LD 42, Day 6: Stealing and Covetousness
Sunday the 20th of October
in Heidelberg Catechism Meditations
1 Timothy 6:6-9: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.”
Covetousness, the desire to have for ourselves what God has given to someone else, is the heart sin of stealing.
Covetousness often comes to expression by frivolous spending without regard to our present obligations. The prosperous and pleasure-mad culture in which we live tempts us to steal. That is exactly what we do when we spend what is not ours to spend.
There is legitimate debt. By that I refer to debt by which we hold equity or goods which have a greater value than the debt, which debt also is not impinging upon our proper seeking of the kingdom as the priority in our lives. A man must normally take on debt in order to purchase a house. But he doesn’t assume that debt, unless he can care for the causes of the kingdom of God first, without hindrance, as well as the needs of his own household in food and clothing and other necessities of life. But there is another form of debt which is altogether illegitimate, and which Scripture exposes as stealing. That is spending on credit that which is not ours to spend. To spend beyond what God has given us is taking that which is not ours to spend and pretending that we already have it.
In modern culture when so much emphasis is placed on material things, we must guard ourselves against covetousness and remember our biblical calling as stewards! The banks want us to spend and to run up exorbitant finance charges. Clothing stores, electronics stores and all the other stores, want us to spend, and spend freely. Advertising entices us. The possessions of our neighbours instill in us a desire for those same possessions or better. But let us understand the covetousness of our own hearts, and pray for the Spirit of grace, that we might fight against this sin of stealing.