The tenth commandment says "You shall not covet", and we hardly ever hear any preaching on this commandment, but God has not revoked it. In fact we see something in the New Testament that if we believed it without reservation, it would put the fear of God into us. Paul said:
"For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God."
Paul could say this to the Ephesian Christians because he taught them. I'm not sure he could say that to many churches today "this you know". A lot of us don't know it and we are in for a rude shock.
What is covetousness. What does it look like?
It has been defined at thefreedictionary.com as "Marked by extreme desire to acquire or possess".
You are covetous when having your basic needs supplied is not enough FOR YOU. You earnestly desire MORE MONEY and MORE THINGS, as if your happiness depends on it.
Let's look at what Jesus said:
New King James Version (NKJV)
The Parable of the Rich Fool
13 Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
14 But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” 15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness,[a] for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Jesus tells this story in response to a man asking for something that seems pretty reasonable to me – he wants his share of the inheritance from his brother, who has apparently taken it all.
Jesus doesn't want to get involved in settling such disputes. What he DOES teach is how DANGEROUS it is to DESIRE to BE WEALTHY, especially when your spending patterns prove that you really don't care about God or others.
To this we can add the words of the apostle Paul:
9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.
The Bible also talks about the "deceitfulness of riches" in Mark 4:19. We have a lot of people today who believe the Word somewhat, but they don't bring real fruit because the thorns of materialism and love of the world choke the word. They are deceived by riches.
Jesus' parable addresses exactly the kind of mentality we see today amongst people who don't REALLY care about the things of God's Kingdom, but who want to be filthy, filthy rich and lay up for themselves treasures on earth so they can live a life of luxury off the returns on their assets, and do "whatever they want" – and in their minds that probably includes giving a bit of extra money to their favorite charities or church projects. Remember, in Satanism we have the phrase, "Do as thou wilt, this is the whole of the law". Many people covet the assets they require to fulfil this agenda, much like the "rich fool" who developed his prosperous agricultural business until he had heaps laid up for himself. He then thought it was time he sat back and selfishly enjoyed it, but instead of that, he died and lost all his money and his soul as well. This is basically what is happening to a lot of people today. Riches deceive them and they lose their eternal souls.
There are very few people who are rich in this world's goods who actually manage to enter the Kingdom of Heaven – according to Jesus. One reason is because "whoever has this world's goods and sees his brother in need and shuts up his heart against him – how does the Love of God abide in him?" (1 John 3:17). Unless these rich people are BLIND and DEAF in this modern age its going to be hard to store up loads of money and still remain in the love of God. Jesus said if you keep his commandments you will abide in His love (John 15:10).
What is being pushed on the body of Christ today is this subtle philosophy that God wants you to focus most of your energy on accumulating revenues. Of course, we have to do something so that we provide for our families and help the local church and other ministers of the gospel. But should the accumulation of serious wealth become a major focus for the believer in Christ? I think not.
Where are the people who are telling us that it is WAY MORE IMPORTANT to be filled with the Holy Spirit than it is to acquire wealth? Well, let me be one. God commands us to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18). He doesn't command us to be wealthy.
We hear so much about people being "Called to Business" and that "God doesn't mind if you drive an expensive car", or "God doesn't mind if you have wealth as long as it doesn't have you" but we hear VERY LITTLE about the fact that if we don't have enough oil in our lamps when our time on earth is finished, we could MISS HEAVEN and END UP IN HELL.
I can tell you now: it is very hard to find people who are willing to donate money to the spread of the true gospel. There are Christians with money, but that money is not going to the gospel workers any time soon. With all the people in the churches who are supposedly "making money for the kingdom" it should be easy. But what I see is Christians being deceived and many times LOSING MONEY FOR THE KINGDOM by being sucked into the wrong kinds of investments and more. Or by giving large seed faith offerings to false prophets who teach a distorted gospel message.
This reflects the fact that many times our priorities are wrong. We want to "solve the money problem" so we can "go off and do the ministry" but in my experience this approach rarely works. Jesus taught us to SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM of GOD, and then GOD would add all these natural things to us. It has worked in my life more than once, but when I got away from this and tried to "make money for the Kingdom" it turned to dust fast.
God actually wants workers who have to DEPEND ON HIM for the money to do their calling. When we no longer need God's financial provision because we are trusting in the returns we can get from our assets, then God will look for someone else to use.
This is why Jesus kept telling people who had wealth and wanted to follow Him to go and sell all they had and give to the poor – only then to come and follow Him. God wants people to learn dependence on the Father in practical real life.
So what's the point of trying to accumulate a lot of cash producing assets if God isn't going to allow you to trust in them for provision? You are just wasting your time. If God seems to be adding cash producing assets to your life, that's fine, but make sure you are donating lots of the revenue to evangelism and the poor. And if God tells you to liquidate some of them, don't deceive yourself. God may be testing you to see if you qualify to be one of His own servants. If you can't do it, maybe you are still serving Mammon after all.