Summary: We need to be content exactly where we’re at; with who we have and what we have and who we are.
“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.” Exodus 20:17
I read an interesting article the other day by Paul Harvey, a former radio announcer who has gone to be with the Lord. The story is about a man who was driving to work when a woman in a brand new car hit him. The young woman jumped out of her car, tears rolling down her eyes. “I know; I know; it’s my fault. My husband just gave me this brand new car two days ago. What am I going to do? What am I going to say to my husband?” The man listening was sympathetic, but he had to leave. They exchanged their driver’s licenses, and when she opened the glove compartment to get her registration, inside the envelope was a letter from her husband which read, “In case of an accident, remember Honey, it’s you I love, and not the car.” Now that’s an understanding husband! His priorities were right. He understood that people were more important than material things.
The things that we have are not important. It is the people in our lives that make a difference. Now for some, God has blessed with many things. These people need to be good stewards of those things, and they are important because God gave it to them. But there‘s a danger when things become possessive—when we will do anything to keep going after things, no matter how old we are. I realize that material things sometimes are not the answer. And oftentimes, the more we get, the more we can destroy our relationships.
There was an 81 year old woman who passed away in 1930 and had been married to a man who had died earlier, leaving her the responsibilities of keeping the finances going. Her finances were estimated at seventeen million dollars back then. Many of her friends questioned if she could maintain it by herself, but she did great. In fact, she made even more money. When she died, she left no written will at all, so what happened after her death absolutely changed the history of lawsuits. More than twenty-six-thousand people from forty-seven states and twenty nine foreign countries represented by more than three thousand lawyers got involved to try and prove their relationship to her and to claim part of her estate. In their efforts to obtain her inheritance, they committed perjury, faked family records, and were even willing to doctor up the doctor’s family Bible by changing the date. Twelve were confined; ten received jail sentences; two committed suicide; three were murdered; and many have been found missing. It’s amazing what length people will go to in order to try and get something.
It’s not wrong to desire or to have something. God put that desire in our hearts. The Bible says that we are to covet the most earnest gift, but we are not to lust or to hurt or to destroy people in getting it. And when there comes a moment in our lives when we have taken care of ourselves and our families, and yet for some reason, God continues to bless us, then it’s time for us to stop and look around and see where else we can be a blessing. In other words, God has given us a gift. And we do not have to be rich to covet. One of the worst things that can happen is that some of us who have nothing are always wishing that we had more for the wrong reason. We covet and want what other people have. It is one of the worst sins of all.