The Write Word

Act Your Wage

I have this week been counseling with a family devastated by debt. It is fresh on my mind and heavy on my heart. First let me say that I am a thief. I stole the ‘act your wage’ phrase from a conversation with my brilliant friend Jody Wells, NASA genius and pastor in Titusville, FL. Now, lets begin to rip out the guts of the beast called covetousness.

Coveting is the improper desire for what belongs to another. It is the commandment that gives most folks the most trouble. At least the ones raised in Western Society. It is my opinion that many of the other broken commandments lie in a trail of bloody footprints made by this one. Conquer #10 and #’s 2,6,7 and 8 will be a breeze.

As with all the commandments, this one addresses far more than mere actions. It addresses the heart. The commandment ‘Do not covet’ has a flip side. It is ‘Be content with what God has trusted to\for you’. In finding contentment with the life God trusts me with, the body, the finances, the intelligence, the inside and the outside stuff, I can keep the sin of coveting’s bloody fingers out of my life. “Bloody”? you say, “isn’t that a bit dramatic”? Let me explain.

The beautiful plan for a Godly example of stewardship lies on the floor of far to many Christian homes. Bleeding to death from paper cuts made by credit card, unaffordable mortgage and too high auto statements.

Slavery is alive and thriving in the good ol USA. Not on plantations, or in cotton fields. But in the voluntary selling of ourselves into slavery to Visa, MasterCard and AmEx. The murder of American home lives, may look like it was caused by crushing debt due to overspending. But take a closer look, past the credit card statements, right there, lurking behind the furniture, clothing, restaurant dinners and vacations charged on them, lies the real culprit. Coveting. The improper desire for what belongs to another. Mothers and fathers are taking on second jobs or working enormous amounts of overtime just to pay for the weights and chains that drag them down, keep them from sleep, and at each other’s throats. A good rule to remember is this - If you do not have the money for it then it cannot properly belong to you. It belongs to the store. In taking it anyway, we allow coveting to enslave us, rob our children of our time, rob ourselves of the freedom to live less stressful, more God centered lives.

So look around, take a good gander at the tree you are eating from. It may be the same one Eve ate from. The forbidden one. The fruit may taste sweet, but if it poisons everyone that it touches…. Then yup it’s the forbidden one. Plucking the fruit over and over does not remove its influence. It merely produces more. So I encourage us to take the ax of contentment in hand, roll up our sleeves and begin the hard, hot, sweaty work of cutting down the tree of coveting. Cut it down, dig out its roots. Live on what you can afford. Make and stick to a budget Start saving. Find someone to be accountable to. Join a support group. Tell your husband, tell your wife. Tell your pastor. Grow up and act your wage