A Bubble of Covetousness

“You shall not covet your neighbour’s house…” Exodus 20:17

The past week’s international news headlines were dominated (yet again) by the current global financial crisis.

This time it is the Spanish economy that is wobbling. Whilst many are hoping that a massive bank bailout will resolve the problem, an increasing number of economists are warning that it won’t. They are predicting a “broader Eurozone catastrophe.”

That sounds rather grim, and so many people are asking the obvious question: “How did we get into this mess?” Google an answer and you will be overwhelmed by an array of articles filled with highfalutin economic terms that are pretty incomprehensible to Joe Soap and his family.

But there is something that you may notice while you’re at it: The recurrence of the term “housing bubble”.

It would appear that an inordinate amount of people bought an inordinate amount of houses with money that they never had but manage to borrow from banks who had inordinately liberal underwriting standards, causing real estate value to skyrocket in an inordinate way.

You don’t need to be an astronaut to understand why the whole thing was destined to pop.

This brings us to another question: Why on earth would anybody with a sound mind want to get involved in this? (Keep in mind that you will have to explain to your grandchildren why you helped destroy the world economy.)

The answer is simple: We never thought that God was serious when he told us not to lust after our neighbour’s house. And so we wanted bigger and better than the Joneses, and used every opportunity to get it.

Of course that made Mr & Mrs Jones feel terrible, and so they had to catch up.

We got into this mess because of greed. That’s the correct answer.

Will we get out of it? God alone knows. So let us focus on what we do know: That the Biblical definition of “gain“ is contentment, not accumulation.

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