"No lusting after your neighbor's house ~ or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don't set your heart on anything that is your neighbor's."
~Exodus 20:17, The Message
My husband has worked for some very wealthy people over the years. His "office" has been their emaculate gardens, boasting picture-perfect flower beds and neatly manicured lawns. (Just describing their properties exhausts me!) I used to harbor guilt over the fact that I couldn't produce the same in our own little yard. Their gardens of Eden made my garden of weedin' all the more frustrating. One day I shared my feelings with my husband. I had been working all week trying to bring more beauty to our yard and was upset with my slow progress. That's when he told me he likes it just the way it is. He has no desire to bring home the same high standards of perfection he sees everyday at work. He reminded me of something he's witnessed time and time again. The wealthy people he works for who are living the "good life" are no happier than us. In fact, he's noticed the opposite. Many are obsessed with maintaining what they have, and it doesn't seem to equate out to a happier existence. What's more, his clients with the least often appear more joyful and content. Hmm....
What insight does this give me about the tenth Commandment? The grass may be greener next door, but appearances can be deceiving. It's silly and counterproductive to look at what someone else has and lust after it, when what I have is more than enough for the life God has marked out for me. When I get sucked into the cycle of coveting, I lose sight of that. In no time, I wander off my own abundant path trying to blaze a trail toward some place I don't belong. (Just a sidenote ~ it isn't what we have or don't have that brings true contentment and joy. Please don't think I am suggesting that those who have an abundance of wealth aren't as happy. I'm learning it really has nothing to do with our pocketbooks or possessions.)
Okay ~ just one more message on this curious topic of coveting. Then we'll wrap up these ten glorious stepping stones to the abundant life, and how to plant our feet firmly on this path. Got to love the Ten Commandments!
"Happiness grows at our own firesides, and is not to be plucked in strangers' gardens."