One Ebony Voice

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Politics and the Sin of Covetousness

"Then one from the crowd said to Him, 'Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.' But He said to him, 'Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?' And He said to them, 'Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.'"

Luke 12:13-15

In US Presidential Campaigns, much emphasis is placed on taxes and the state of the economy. Usually, the Democrats want to raise taxes and the Republicans do not. Although Jesus did say, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's" (Matthew 22:21), there is much disagreement over how much "Caesar" is entitled to.

One way to discover what "Caesar" should have is to study the word, covetousness. One of the Ten Commandments God gave to Moses is, "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's." (Exodus 20:17) Using this scripture as a foundation, suffice it to say, Caesar is due tribute (taxes) as long as the tribute is not driven by covetousness. That means taxes should be charged to provide for the sufficient running of the government, but not for the purpose of taking what someone has simply because they have it. The Republicans refer to this as the redistribution of wealth.

During Presidential Campaigns, both political parties appeal to their members and supporters based on the state of affairs of their pocketbooks. Republicans complain that the Democrats want to take their wealth and redistribute it. The Democrats are quick to point out how much money Republicans have in an effort to create bitter envy among Democratic members and supporters against those who have an abundance of material wealth.

Bitter envy against those who have an abundance of material wealth is covetousness. Merriam-Webster defines covetous as an "inordinate [unreasonable] desire for another's possessions".1 The Biblical definition of covetousness is to overreach to have more, or to overreach to satisfy an insatiable desire for wealth or gain.2 Covetousness is idolatry. (Ephesians 5:3)

Covetousness is idolatry because it puts material wealth and possessions ahead of God. Covetousness is a sin. (Employing the sin of covetousness to win an election is also idolatry.) God is not against people having material possessions. (Deuteronomy 28:1-14; 3 John 2) He is against them sinning to get it. The Bible states God gives all things richly so that they can be enjoyed. (1 Timothy 6:17) It also states that if He sacrificed Jesus for mankind, why would He withhold anything else? (Romans 8:32)

In the case of US Presidential Campaigns, the practice of provoking US citizens into covetousness can be likened to the sin of Old Testament kings of Israel who led the Children of Israel into idolatry. For their sin, the Children of Israel were taken into captivity.

In the current state of affairs in the US economy, it is not unreasonable to wonder how many of the country's financial woes are indeed linked to the idolatrous sin of covetousness. The Bible states that the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) The sin of covetousness will lead to some form of death. Could this death be the death of US financial markets?


1Merriam-Webster Online. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, 2008.

2Hayford, Jack W. ed. Spirit-Filled Life Bible. New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991, p. 1726.

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