I appreciate the many comments I received after the article on covetousness was posted. As I study it more, I am realizing there is more to covetousness than what first meets the eye! There is no doubt, as some of you mentioned, that covetousness is the sin of materialism. Paul often refers to covetousness, or greed, as idolatry. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: (Colossians 3:5.) Idolatry is letting someone or something else becomes your god instead of the true God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Covetousness takes place when we place something in a position higher than Christ.
Covetousness is basically an inner motivation or an attitude of the heart. The tenth commandment tells us to not covet anything our neighbor has: including his wife or any of his possessions. That can encompass a lot; including but not limited to, status, position, or power in the secular or sacred field.
Numbers 12 tells us of the covetous heart of Aaron and Miriam. When you fully study this story, you will see people wanting to share in the power and decision-making that was given only to Moses. Remember the man named Achan, of the tribe of Judah, who took because he coveted when he saw? It was just a garment from Babylon, 200 shekels, and a wedge of gold. Achan coveted. This is only the beginning of examples!
Did you know that your eyes are connected to your ears? I am at a camp teaching the Walk Right Bible College, and just today the camp director was telling me about a fall he experienced. That fall caused the “crystals” in his ears to get out of sorts. He told us how the doctors (specialists) were able to look at his eyes in order to tell when these crystals were properly realigned. I never heard of such a thing, but it got me searching, and caused me to realize that our eyes affect more than just our ears, it affects our whole body and the whole family and the influence in God’s house! O be careful little eyes what you see!
Covetousness is often a deadly sin because it gives birth to other sins. Remember King David, a man after God’s own heart, who coveted Bathsheba, and later committed the sins of murder and taking another man’s wife. Do you see how the root of covetousness will bread more gross sins in one’s life? I lived in Natchez, Mississippi for a short time when my wife and I first married. My father-in-law, used to treat the anthills as the ground keeper for Maranatha Baptist Mission in Natchez. He showed me the poison he used. It was a white, flaky material that was actually poison, but the ants thought it was food. He would place it around the anthill and the ants would carry it in to the queen, killing the entire hill of ants. One evening we visited the anthill he had treated only to find the white flaky stuff around other anthills he did not treat. Those neighboring ants were convinced that they had successfully stolen food from the anthill next door and carried it into their own hole to their own deaths. Wow! I wonder how many times we have looked at the world and those in the world wishing, hoping, manipulating to have be or do what they possessed, and once we were successful at obtaining it, we found that it was only the start of greater sins that would take us lower than we ever wanted to go or could see.
Jesus warns us in Luke 12:15, 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. “Take care! Be on alert! Watch out for all kinds of covetousness!” was His message.
One unknown writer said concerning covetous: “Covetousness is simply craving more of what you have enough already, but if left to go unchecked, it can kill you spiritually.” Don’t let the poison of covetousness poison your soul. Leave it on the altar, place it under the blood of Jesus, and yield it completely to the Holy Spirit.
Benjamin R. Burks
Covetousness is the greatest of monsters, as well as the root of all evil.
– William Penn
Desire of having is the sin of covetousness.
It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.
Covetousness is a sort of mental gluttony, not confined to money, but craving honor, and feeding on selfishness
Covetousness is both the beginning and the end of the devil’s alphabet – the first vice in corrupt nature that moves, and the last which dies.