Vol.XX No.VII Pg.6
September 1983

Scrounger's Confession

Robert F. Turner

Hard times and an empty wallet had required building projects to be done with whatever could be scrounged. And cull lumber was the best I could do. There was generally a disappointment with the finished product. Cabinets just did not fit together due to twisted and warped boards. Larger projects were never square — or plumb — or straight. They were strong, but not pretty.

One day I bought a truckload of fine damaged lumber. Oh, it had a scratch or a stain here and there, but nothing I could not correct. And some of the lumber was absolutely flawless. It was delightful! I would go to the barn and admire the rich grain and feel the smooth finish.

More opportunities came. Materials were bought and sold, but the best was always sorted out and set aside. Soon the barn was full.

Work time comes and I carefully sort the lumber stack. I select the best pieces, and put them aside. They are not to be used; they are too good to use. You see, I still build with culls — though better quality. I now choose the culls. I cannot bear to saw up those good boards.

A fellow comes to buy. He spies my lumber stack. I show him everything I have, but he wants those boards. He offers a good price, but I am not happy. They are too pretty to sell.

Wait a minute! "Too good to use" and "too pretty to sell" — that looks strangely like a covetous footprint just a step behind my shoe! Covetousness is the "inordinate" love of things — loving things too much. Money, land, houses all have value but covetousness exaggerates it all out of proportion. Covetousness makes an obsession of accumulating. It is a greed with endless appetite (Eccl. 5:10). It is devotion to things — idolatry (Col. 3:5).

Covetousness grasps at the things of others. It longs for a neighbor's money till theft is planned. It seeks his land till fraud acquires it. It desires his wife till morals are abandoned and adultery is embraced.

And covetousness grasps a man's own things. The rich ruler found his pitfall in his love for his own possessions (Matt. 19:16-). He could not let go of them to take hold of life. Covetousness so grasps possessions, it makes misers. The rust on his money and the moths in his clothes accuse him (Jas. 5:3). Silver only tarnishes when not used; moths attack clothes that are not worn. As stewards, all things are entrusted to us to use — not hoard.

Among all sins, covetousness is one of the hardest to recognize. 1 think the rich ruler was honest when he said, "All these things have I kept..." Jesus opened his eyes with "Go and sell all you have and give it to the poor" "Thou shalt not covet" needed a little more work. Oh, to be able to see ourselves as we are!

Excuse me. I have to go and cut up some pretty boards.

Joe Fitch San Antonio, TX.