Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Hebrews 13:5)
For the past several weeks, we have had the blessed privilege of taking our congregational readings from the book of Hebrews. Hebrews is a deep theological work and is one of the most challenging books of the Bible. This book, along with Romans, really mines the importance of the New Covenant that has been established through the sacrificial death of Christ. We have now reached the thirteenth chapter in which the writer gives some practical exhortations that are the spiritual responses to the great truths that have been learned. These truths concern the superiority of Christ over all aspects of God’s physical and spiritual creation. It presents Christ as supreme and as the ultimate object of our praise, adoration, love, and respect. Because He is the eternal God, to possess Him as Lord and Saviour is to have all we could ever hope for and all we will ever need.
This possession of Christ as our Sovereign Lord is especially important as we come to verse five of the thirteenth chapter. We remember that the eleventh chapter dealt with great heroes of the faith, some named and others nameless, which were willing to give their lives because they had the hope of Christ within them. This hope was the promise of an eternal home in heaven: “Ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels” (12:22). Because the Christian is an heir to this heavenly city, we ought not to think there is anything that we lack which in turn would cause us to become covetous. What does anyone have that is better than what we already possess? Our possession is not only better but immeasurably better. We can live with contentment knowing that we are the present owners of the riches of God’s inheritance. This promise is surer than what we can actually see with our eyes. People are deceived by the lust of the eyes. Earthly possessions do not satisfy, and yet this is the continual pursuit of our materialistic society, which sadly also includes many Christians.
It is becoming increasingly popular in Christian churches to teach that Christians should pursue wealth because it is God’s desire that we have the best of what the world has to offer. We should expect it because God has ordained it for us. This kind of theology belies the entire book of Hebrews. It is Christ Himself that we pursue; the best this world has to offer is worse than junk in God’s kingdom. Paul said he counted all that he had gained in this world as dung in comparison to the riches that he found in Christ (Philippians 3:8).
The great hope of this passage is the concluding statement, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” This is God’s infallible promise that once we have placed our faith in Christ, our eternal home is secure. Though we go through hard times; though there are worldly things that would seem to improve our lives, we should trust God’s providence that He has given exactly what we need for this moment of time. We can be content because we see through the eyes of faith what others cannot see. Christian, trust God! You belong to Him and He belongs to you.
Pastor V. Mark Smith