Most of us have far more clothing than we will ever wear. Why do we have so much? Primarily it is because we keep searching for that one thing that we think will make us look better. For the ladies it may be a dress or a sweater; for men it may be a ball cap or a new pair of boots. Although there is nothing wrong with wanting to look our best, we must be careful that we do not allow ourselves to be controlled by a self-centered spirit.
Ephesians 4:28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. NKJV
I’m sure that most of us aren’t tempted to steal. However, many of us can be tempted to be selfish and self-centered. Paul tells us to pack away our SELF-CENTERED garments and to clothe ourselves with a spirit of generosity and care.
John MacArthur writes in his commentary – “The alternative to stealing is to provide for oneself, one’s family, and others what is God-honoring through honest, honorable means.”
First we see the importance of being responsible to provide for our own needs.
2 Thessalonians 3:7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, 9 not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. 10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread. NKJV
Paul not only preached this, he lived it.
Secondly, John MacArthur writes that we should seek to provide, not only for ourselves, but also for the needs of others.
Acts 20:33 I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. 34 Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” NKJV
I’ve never met a selfish person who was a happy person. Selfish and greedy people are always afraid someone else might get what they have and they are always searching for more. In contrast, consider the attitude of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. NKJV