Covetousness Kills

Lou Lotz

READ : Exodus 20:12-17

You shall not covet . . . (v. 17)

At a local college the fans have a wonderful cheer that they use at basketball games. When the home team scores a basket, the stands erupt with: (clap, clap, clap) “Satisfied!” (clap, clap, clap) “Satisfied!”

Covetous people are never satisfied. Even when they have enough they remain unsatisfied, smoldering with desire for what their neighbors possess. Think of King Ahab, owner of many vineyards, pouting childishly because he cannot possess Naboth’s vineyard. Think of King David, who has many wives, sick with lust for Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah. Think of the peace we forfeit when our hearts are filled with desire for things that are not ours. Covetousness kills our peace and wrecks contentment.

Covetousness is a dead giveaway that we have not yet learned to love. If our deepest thoughts and yearnings are for our own gain and our neighbor’s loss, we are lacking in love. If we are more concerned with our neighbor’s goods than our neighbor’s good, we are lacking in love.

Jesus said: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). Part of what it means to “love your neighbor” is to refuse to covet what your neighbor possesses and to earnestly seek your neighbor’s good and advantage. I challenge you to do it.


Take away my covetousness, O God, that I might truly love my neighbor.