Covetousness Is Idolatry

Covetousness- Strong unrestrained, immoderate, or excessive desire to obtain and possess that which belongs to another.

How much war has been declared due to covetousness? We witness throughout history that many conquerors desired to have for their possession land, resources, and the desirable locations of other nations to the point they invaded them with war. However, the devastation caused by greed is not merely confined to war, but affects the very spirit of man. Therefore, the Lord commands us not to covet anything that belongs to someone else (Exodus 20: 17); moreover, scripture clearly states that covetousness is idolatry:

IDOLATRY- excessive love or veneration for anything or anyone other than God.

The fact is, because we are all born with a sin nature; we have battled with sinful desires such as covetousness even from our childhood.

This kind of covetous desire seemed to be demonstrated to my husband and I by way of our experience concerning two businesses:

We had developed a habit of frequenting a local coffee house each time we visited our favorite mountain destination; however, on a recent trip we were greatly disappointed to find that the business had a different name. We were baffled because the coffee shop had appeared to be a complete success—each time we visited, we had to scramble to find a parking space and inside was always bustling with customers. The owners made sure the coffee was hot and the staff was pleasant; nevertheless, we discovered that it was a different coffee house that had opened in their place.

My husband emailed the original owners to see if they were going to relocate so that we could patronize their new business. He received a reply that was not accusatory toward anyone, but the facts surrounding the business closure caused us to ponder more deeply about what had truly transpired. The owners of the building in which they were located refused to allow them to renew their lease, and had chosen to open their own business in their stead. When we had visited the shop, it took some time for it to register that it was under different ownership—the interior and manner of business was almost identical to our favorite coffee house. Could it be that the building owners witnessed the prosperity their renters enjoyed, and began to excessively desire their success to the point that they essentially claimed for themselves something that belonged to another?

The fact is, covetousness is the root of all kinds of sins that have tempted each and every one of us throughout our lives. As Luke 12:15 warns, we must all “be on [our] guard against all kinds of greed.