As we have been discussing I believe the Bible teaches that the principles of Capitalism are God’s intended economic system but they should be governed by God’s laws to operate as He intended them. I have learned this concept of God’s laws governing capitalism from Harold Eberle’s book Compassionate Capitalism – A Judeo Christian Value. We have found a lot of these laws in the Ten Commandments and there is one more we will look at…the 10th commandment. Don’t Covet.
God taught his children to work hard and expect the benefit of their work. So when the 10th commandment tells us not to covet what our neighbor has, it is encouraging us to enjoy the fruit of our labor; and allow our neighbors to enjoy the fruit of their labor. Whenever people waste their energy desiring other people’s possessions they have less energy left to take advantage of what is presently available to them. They miss the opportunities and blessings right in front of them; this leads to a dissatisfied life. Right here is where greed enters in…when people become obsessed with what they don’t possess and what others do. The Biblical command to avoid coveting safeguards us from greed, which corrupts capitalism.
The Bible teaches us to enjoy the fruit of our labor and its related prosperity. We should not covet our neighbor’s stuff. We find this in Ecclesiastes (2:24): “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil…”. If our neighbor has more possessions than we do maybe we should go learn from them how they do things. Perhaps they have a wisdom or work ethic we do not. It might help our finances. We will have the greatest blessings when we enjoy what we have worked for with our family and friends. We are never in a race to get ahead of others. We are in a race to find and complete the Lord’s plan for our lives. Paul spoke of “running the race that is set before us”.
In blogs going forward we will look at how is capitalism supposed to work when it is governed properly? Have you ever heard of James Jerome Hill? What about capitalism in the New Testament? All to come…