“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
– Exodus 20:17
I’ve always wondered the significance of the tenth commandment. I’ll be the first to admit that I have often driven by houses and thought, “I wish I could live there.” I’ve had similar thoughts about jobs, electronics, clothes, and even kids (before I had my own, of course). I guess the saying is often true: “The grass is greener on the other side.” If so, why did God point this out in His top ten? It must have been important NOT TO covet other people’s things. I really meditated on it and came up with two of my own reasons:
1) Coveting other people’s things is a direct insult to God. When I buy my child a present, I don’t expect her to say, “I don’t like this. I want that.” In my eyes, I would find it disrespectful and it would require an immediate attitude adjustment. Then, my question is: “Why is it okay to do it to God?” Phil.4:19 says, “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus.” When we covet, we are disrespecting God. We are saying that what He has given us is not enough. We are saying that we don’t like what He has given us. We want something else, Coveting slaps God in the face.
2) Coveting creates discontentment. Have you ever driven on a highway in the heat of the day? If you look forward, you’ll see this big patch of black on the pavement just a hundred yards out. However, you never reach it. The further you go, the further it goes. It’s a mirage. I believe that when we covet things or people or situations, we’re seeking mirages. We become discontent with our own situations and we go after ones that seem more appealing. Unfortunately, we never achieve that satisfaction. So, it is wiser to count your blessings and focus on what you do have, what God has given you. If we do this, we will find the virtue of contentment. 1 Timothy 6: 6-7 says: ” But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.”
So, the next time you find yourself wanting something more, take time out to reflect on what you do have. You will not only bring honor to God, but you will bring peace to your heart. God is constantly watching over you.