Foolish to wear yourself out for sole purpose of acquisition


The 10th Commandment tells us not to covet (See Exodus 20:17). Coveting leads to numerous negative outcomes. We must learn to control the drive to acquire.

Our push to get more (and never in history have we been so pushed to get so much so quickly) we overwork and take on second and third jobs for the sole purpose of acquisition. It’s the material rat race, and it can lead to fatigue.

In the New Living Translation, Proverbs 23:4 is translated like this, “Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit.” It’s foolish to wear yourself out constantly trying to get more. God’s Word challenges us to be wise enough to know when to quit.

Coveting will not only exhaust you physically, it can exhaust you financially. “The more you have, the more you spend, right up to the limits of your income.” (Ecclesiastes 5:11)

Sometimes, the problem isn’t that we don’t make enough money. Sometimes, we just want too much. A lot of the things that people describe as needs are actually greeds. They can’t seem to get enough. Coveting often drives people further and further into debt.

Coveting often leads to worry. It begins by worrying about how to get what we want. Then we worry about how we’re going to protect what we have. How we can save it?

Where will we invest it? How should we insure it? How can we keep from losing it, and how can we get even more? Coveting can lead to fatigue, debt and worry. When you add these things together, it can lead to conflict. Conflict is often the result of always wanting more.

James 4:1 poses the question, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” Financial tension is one of the top causes of divorce. Couples fight about money. They fight about possessions. Whenever someone else has what you want, it often leads to conflict.

God says, “Don’t covet that which belongs to somebody else.” Don’t covet somebody else’s job, car, house, wife, husband, etc. Just don’t do it. Coveting takes us down the path of dissatisfaction.

These are the words of King Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, apart from Jesus. “Whoever loves money never has money enough. Whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This, too, is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10). The Living Bible says, “It’s foolish to think that wealth brings happiness.”

You may read Steve Greene’s blog at or you can email him at [email protected].

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