Summary: A practical application of the 10th commandment, "You shall not covet," encouraging people to replace the wrong desire for their neighbor’s stuff with the right desire for one’s mate and God’s Word.
Secret of Satisfaction (Exodus 20:17)
If Danny Simpson had known more about guns, he might not have needed to rob a bank. But in 1990, in Ottawa, Canada, this 24-year-old went to jail, and his gun went to a museum. He was arrested for robbing a bank of $6,000 and then sent to jail for six years. He had used a .45 caliber Colt semi-automatic, which turned out to be an antique made by the Ross Rifle Company, Quebec City, in 1918.
The pistol is worth up to $100,000—much more than Danny Simpson had stolen. If he had just known what he carried in his hand, he wouldn’t have robbed the bank. (The Province, Vancouver, British Columbia, 9-19-90; www.PreachingToday.com)
Sometimes we don’t know how good we have it, and it can cause us to make foolish decisions, especially in these tough economic times.
According to many studies, finances are the #1 killer of most relationships. People argue over money more than anything else.
Even so, God has given us some real help in this area. There is a fundamental secret to financial stability and healthy relationships, which works for anyone at any income level at any time.
The secret to financial stability and healthy relationships is not getting more; It is wanting less. The word, “covet,” literally means to desire. & God says DON’T DESIRE ANYTHING THAT BELONGS TO YOUR NEIGHBOR. DON’T WANT YOUR NEIGHBOR’S STUFF. DON’T LUST AFTER HIS WIFE OR HIS POSSESSIONS. DON’T LONG FOR THINGS THAT DON’T BELONG TO YOU.
If your neighbor gets a new car, if your neighbor builds a new addition to his house, if your neighbor buys some fancy clothes, if your neighbor gets a lucrative business contract, if your neighbor gets an “A” on a test, if your neighbor gets a bigger allowance or paycheck than you, don’t envy that neighbor. Don’t be jealous of his or her success.
Instead, “Rejoice with those who rejoice,” Romans 12:15 says. Be glad about their success. & Don’t think, “I’ve got to have what they have.”
You see, a lot of our financial troubles come when we think we’re entitled to more, just because somebody else has more. We don’t appreciate what we already have, so we pursue more stuff and end up losing everything. Wanting more gives us less in the long run.
One day, a young Charles Darwin was eagerly holding a rare beetle in his right fist and another in his left when suddenly he caught sight of a third beetle that he simply knew he must have for his collection. What to do? In a flash, he put one of the beetles in his mouth for safekeeping and reached for the third beetle with his now free hand. But the mouth-imprisoned beetle squirted acid down Darwin’s throat – so that in a fit of coughing he lost all three beetles. (James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988, p. 26; sited by Darren McCormick, www.SermonCentral.com)
That’s really a good picture of what happens when we’re not content with what we have. It’s a good picture of what happens when we covet something that’s out there, that doesn’t belong to us. We end up losing even what we do have.
I believe that is at the root of our current economic crisis. It was people and banks and financial institutions wanting more house than they could afford. Then they found themselves in deep financial trouble when their houses weren’t worth the mortgage they still owed.
Coveting is personally ruinous, and that’s bad enough. But coveting also destroys relationships. Jealousy ruins friendships. Envy tears people apart.
Just a couple of years ago (2006), a Doberman pinscher guard dog named Barney went berserk at the Wookey Hall Caves, a teddy bear museum in western England. Alan Cowell, a New York Times reporter, described it as “teddy bear carnage” when Barney shredded about 100 of the bears on display. The biggest loss was Mabel – Elvis Presley’s teddy bear.
Mabel was owned by an English aristocrat named Benjamin Slade who lives close to the museum. He had paid around $75,000 for the bear at a Memphis auction, and then loaned it to Wookey Hall Caves. The museum’s general manager, Daniel Medley, reported: “I had a very embarrassing phone call with the owner. He’s not very happy at all.”
But what would possess Barney the guard dog to become so violent? The dog’s handler, Greg West, speculated that it might have been either a “rogue scent” that “switched on Barney’s deepest instincts or it could have been jealousy.” West said he was “stroking Mabel and saying what a nice little bear she was.”