April 22, 2005
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.
We’ve come to the last commandment, and in one sense it is different from the one preceding it. While the first nine commandments have to do with deeds, the tenth commandment has to do with attitudes. It reaches down into the heart, looks beyond the surface, and deals with the internal, desires of the heart.
The word “covet” simply means desire. It can be a good word. As a matter of fact, in the book of Corinthians, the Apostle Paul says that we are to covet the best gifts. We are to desire those things that are good. But to covet in the wrong fashion is to have inordinate desires running rampant in the wrong direction for the things that don’t belong to us.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the average American wanted 72 things and considered 18 of those things important. Today, the average American considers 496 things to be needed, and 90 necessary for happiness. The list sure has expanded, hasn’t it?
Try adding up the things in your life that it would take to make you happy. What would it really take? How much stuff? How many things? How big does the house have to be? How many cars? What kind of cars? What kind of clothes? Or perhaps you have not coveted possessions, but instead you’ve wrongly desired for power, fame, or popularity.
This tenth commandment is important because it is translated so powerfully in our lives today. It’s not the cessation of desires. God is not looking to take away your desires, but instead He wants to meet them for you. Instead of wrongly desiring for possessions, let the Lord take care of you and satisfy the deepest longings of your heart.
COVETOUSNESS IS NOT HOW MUCH YOU HAVE OR DON’T HAVE, BUT
INSTEAD IT IS THE ATTITUDE YOU HAVE TOWARD THE THINGS YOU POSSESS.