Beware of Covetousness
Footballer Sadio Mané has much more to celebrate than his return to the pitch and his team Bayern Munich’s top seeding in the Bundesliga (the top-tier league of the German football system) – his earnings and prize money. But he won’t keep it for long.
“Why would I want 10 Ferraris, 20 diamond watches, or 2 planes? What will these objects do for me and for the world?” the Senegalese sports star rhetorically asked during a Ghanaian interview recorded in 2019. “I was hungry, and I had to work in the field; I survived hard times, played football barefooted, I did not have an education and many other things, but today with what I earn thanks to football, I can help my people. … I prefer that my people receive a little of what life has given me.”
And that last declaration might be an understatement.
Due in large part to his financial donations, his home village of Bambali built its first hospital and a new secondary school – complete with modern computer systems and cellphones. He has also donated new clothes to his hometown and funds to aid his country in the fight against COVID-19. During his time in Liverpool he was donating 70 euros (about $74.15) a month to each family in his old neighborhood. And, of course, he has done much, much more.
Mané seems to be living out the very words of Jesus recorded in Luke 12:15, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (NKJV).
Jesus’ stern warning was followed up by the grim parable of the rich fool who stored up his crops and riches for himself (Luke 12:16-21) rather than using what God blessed him with to provide for the poor (Mark 10:21).
When we see others living in excess, it’s easy, even as Christ’s believers, to feel a tinge of envy. Just look at Ananias and Sapphira who held back from the church some of the proceeds from the sale of their land (Acts 5:1-11). Our very human nature draws us to desire providing everything for ourselves (“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to man …” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV), which probably stems from when Eve coveted God’s omnipotence and power.
What Eve, Ananias, Sapphira, and the rest of us fail to remember far too often is that all things, whether it be wisdom, power, wealth, spiritual gifts, etc., belong to God (2 Corinthians 5:18; 9:10-11; Deuteronomy 8:18; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11; James 1:17).
Connecting: Do you think Sadio Mané is as humble as he seems, or that he is boasting in his sacrifices?
Sharing: What does Matthew 25:40-45 mean to you?
- Charity is necessary for salvation. Period.
- Charity happens naturally after we accept Christ into our lives, of course!
- We can never truly be sure if we’re doing anything right. …
- That’s a great story but how do I know who really needs my help?!?
- All is vanity, all is meaningless, all is futile like chasing the wind.
Applying: Pastor J.D. Greear has spoken extensively on the topic of stewardship and covetousness. With a partner or your small group, read his definitions of spender, saver, and steward here on pages 5 and 6, and then take the quiz on pages 6 and 7 to discover which one you are. And if you’d like to listen to the whole sermon, click here.
~ Stefani Leeper