The 10th commandment handed down to Moses is quite simple; thou shalt not covet.
It seems a bit like an after thought compared to murder, stealing, adultery and all the other “big” sins.
Why is that? To covet doesn’t seem as severe as stealing or committing adultery. You know, taking something that belongs to someone else. Certainly not murder, the ultimate taking. Thou shalt not covet; how did it make the list?
It made the list because covetousness, while not in the literal sense, does steal. How you may ask? The answer is easier then you might think. When you covet you turn all the focus inward. What YOU want. When you covet you slowly kill the potential to give to others. When you covet you miss opportunities to receive blessing on your own life.
The sin of covetousness will steal away the blessings that come from giving of yourself and instead direct your thoughts and desires to yourself. Once everyone is focused on what they desire, it becomes easy to pass on all that stuff about orphans and widows on to government.
Materialism started out with “I want” and has led to I want, what you have! What else is this talk about rich people needing to pay more taxes — pay their fair share — if not that? The old testament didn’t have higher tithe rates for Abraham, Solomen, Boaz or David. These were some of the richest men of their time.
And don’t kid yourself, taxing the rich is not about fairness. It is about taking. Taking more for your own benefit. More teachers in your school, more free healthcare, more government assistance. It’s supposed to make you feel better that someone else got theirs because why? Well because when you compare yourself to them you covet what they have. At this point, 47% of Americans now pay no taxes. We are quickly approaching a state where the majority will be able to demand something-for-nothing.
The old testament law didn’t direct government to take care of widows and orphans. It was the responsibility of each and every person to look out for their family and relatives first, and then take care of those who had no family to fall back on.
The idea that there is no consequence to coveting is false. It is the offspring of comparison.
When you look at others and then compare yourself to them, whether it be looks, wealth, or position, does it create positive feelings or negative feelings? What is does is create feelings of inadequacy or of superiority. Neither of these are a good place to be. How much better that your energies should be redirected to an outward focus.
If you are still not convinced consider this; the average American falls into the richest 1% of the world population. So if you buy into the concept that the richest need to pay more to the 99%, maybe it is time you downsize and give back. I suggest a grass roofed hut and a community water well for starters. The the rest of your stuff can then be redistributed to those in need.
Sarcasm aside, my genuine recommendation is that you turn to an outward focus. Count your blessings — they are many — and then give of yourself to those who truly need the time and help you can provide. And if you tell yourself, what can I do? Well, there you go again; comparing yourself to others. Don’t over think about it. Find a place to contribute and just do it. In the end you will come out ahead.
“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” Acts 20:35