Economics – Coveting

Economics – Coveting

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.Exodus 20:17

The tenth commandment is a commandment that is largely ignored in American culture. Right alongside adultery, murder, and theft God prohibits desiring what other people have. This commandment is primarily meant to show us our depravity and need of a Savior by exposing that our love for things trumps our love for God and neighbor. In addition to this, the tenth commandment is some of the best financial advice ever given.

Most Americans are not content with what they have. They are constantly desiring more and trying to keep up with their neighbors. Because they let their desires for earthly things run crazy, they end up in major financial problems. These desires can range from food to cars to clothes to homes. We must realize that these desires are not godly.

And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.Luke 12:13-15

Jesus warns us to beware of desiring earthly things. In this case it was a love for earthly things that was dividing a family. The brother was choosing possessions over his brother. We can allow our greed and covetousness to destroy our marriage, our family, and our relationship with God.

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.1 Timothy 6:3-11

Paul picks up on this and tells Timothy to watch out for those who teach that material gain is godliness. We are to be content with what God has given us. We must be on guard against covetousness and shun the love of money.

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.Philippians 4:10-13

We are to be content, and it is Christ who enables us to be content. Philippians 4:13 is not about making it in the NFL; it is about making it in poverty.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.Matthew 6:33

Instead of seeking the things of this life we are to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. That is what we are to desire. It is this realignment of priorities that will fix your financial problems.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.Matthew 22:37-40

The two greatest commandments are to love God and love neighbor. Earthly possessions are not something to be desired or loved. We have been given economic blessings to bless God and our neighbor. Many times our desires for material gain is simply greed and completely devoid of love for God or neighbor.


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