Envying the Prosperity of the Wicked
Envy and covetousness are closely related. We were once walking with a sister in Christ along a road in Kisumu, Kenya when she pointed me to some magnificent buildings. She commented: “We are the children of the King, we are the ones who are supposed to live in such houses. I am looking forward to when the Lord will transfer the wealth of the ungodly to us.” In my judgement, the lady had just displayed some signs of covetousness.
There are many ways we can spiritualise covetousness to the extent of vindicating it. Some people can enthusiastically quote the scripture, albeit aberrantly, to justify depravity.
We read in the Bible about Asaph who realized the folly of envying the unrighteous.
“But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”—Psalm 73:2-3.
In verse 25, he says, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.” Judging from this, Asaph loved God. That he almost lost it by way of envying the prosperity of the wicked, shows how powerful a distraction envy and covetousness are.
Watch out! The moment you begin to envy the prosperity of the wicked, you are at the verge of becoming wicked yourself. That is why Asaph acknowledged that his steps almost slipped. He ‘woke up’ just in time to reconcile with God. If we continue on the path of covetousness, it doesn’t matter how spiritual we seem to be, in fact, we would use our piety to spiritualize extortion; justify indulgence, and commercialize the ministry.
When we see a crowd, how do we look at it? Do we see a market or souls? We commercialize the ministry when instead of seeing souls needing the Lord’s salvation, we see market needing our products. It is true that some believers are doing business of some kind and are therefore justified to see market in people. Nevertheless, it is better to interpret a crowd as souls so that even as we buy and sell services and products to them, we would be keen to find a way of introducing them to the Saviour.
Some believers admire the prosperity of the wicked because of the power the rich wield. Most of the times we can see that things are really working for the ungodly, but we have to remember that the temporariness of their advantage can be likened to a stone that is thrown into the space. When we throw a stone into the space, the power of our thrust will make it look like gravity has lost any claim over it, but slowly, natural law will give back power to the gravity. The stone will come back to the ground, guaranteed. The ungodly may have power to compromise things in your favour, but there is a law that will ultimately catch up with them. They will come down, guaranteed! A time is coming when the laws of God will make the ultimate ruling: Anyone who corruptly and fraudulently acquired wealth must be abased.