Don't go wishing you had what belongs to someone you know. Don't waste a minute of your life pining after their bigger house, their prettier spouse, their house cleaners...gardeners...pool men (had to throw that one in), their racy red sports car or VW camper, their well behaved canine, or anything else for that matter.
~Exodus 20:17, MY VERSION
I used to find it puzzling that this Commandment stood side by side with the other nine. How is this hurting anyone, I'd wonder. Why does God care if I feel a bit envious of my neighbor's house...or new car....or great job. I didn't realize that the act of coveting does hurt someone ~ me. It can also hurt the person whose life I'm wishing I had. How utterly wonderful that the God of the Universe cares enough to say, "Don't do it!" Because he longs to protect us. Like all loving parents, he desires to see us walking in joy, content with all we have, and eager to celebrate in the blessings of others. The lesson I have learned, that I want engraved onto my heart, holds more value than gold. I wouldn't exchange it for a mansion or a hefty bank account. Lord, let this truth remain with me each and every day of my life ~ coveting adds nothing to my life...it only takes away.
Only a loving God would bother to end his list of ten things on such a personal note. I can almost hear him now. "Come on, guys. Stop focusing on what you don't have. Look at all I've given you. Enjoy your life just as it is! I marked it out just for you. It's a custom fit. Wear it well."
Though my kids are adults now, I remember the toddler years. As cute and curious as they were, there were times when I was utterly exhausted and deficient of patience. The hardest part of the day was a trip to the store...any store. Everywhere they turned, their eyes lit up with excitement. "I want that!" "Mommy, can I have this?" An occasional tantrum over my "No"s would leave me vowing to never take them shopping again. But they were toddlers. They didn't know better. And truthfully, their level of happiness wasn't contingent on whether or not I gave in. My "yes"es often led to disinterest and disappointment. It was about wanting what didn't belong to them.
Am I any different? Only that I am old enough to know better. "When we were children, we thought and reasoned as children do. But when we grew up, we quit our childish ways." These words from 1 Corinthians 13 are smack in the middle of the love chapter. And isn't it out of his deep love for us that he urges us to put away our childish thoughts, attitudes, and actions. It's time to put coveting to rest, and start living each day in full appreciation and utter joy for all I have been given.
"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you have now was once among the things you only hoped for."