At first glance, this law might seem somewhat out of place — in the same list as “do not murder” and “do not commit adultery” (Deut.5). But when you think about it, coveting what someone else has can lead to serious consequences. And when practiced by an entire culture, it can be devastating. Coveting today is even considered by some to be a virtue, fostered by a multibillion dollar advertising industry, played out in spades in an all-consuming, “gimme” culture that seems to have a voracious appetite for more and more stuff.
Now just to be clear, having good things in your possession is not inherently wrong. God never banned “stuff” from our lives. But sometimes our stuff ought to come with warning labels: (1) Be careful not to confuse this automobile with your identity; (2) Beware your desire to consume endlessly — you will not be satisfied; (3) You are now the steward of this item, not it’s owner; (4) Are you being generous with what you now have?
Coveting is actually one of the forces behind a great many of the ills that are tearing our world apart. At its root, covetousness is a rejection of gratitude, a deep sense of deprivation, a lack of contentment, a fostering of jealousy, envy, greed, our sense of entitlement, and lust. Even brawls in shopping malls on Black Friday; and not a few wars. This unholy dissatisfaction with our own life screams to our inner being, “Something out there will satisfy my desire, my craving. I deserve what I see.” But the truth is, if we give in to our angst for what someone else possesses, those desires have a way of growing in us, rather than diminishing. We may well be feeding a monster that will only get worse. And to be sure, this problem is no respecter of class. It infects rich and poor alike. All of us are able to covet what we see someone else has.
These are just a few of the reasons why practicing appreciation is so good for us. Our soul needs to be nourished with the truth about how God is good, and how we have been blessed to have whatever it is that we have.
May I turn my eyes to see what I have been given. And how good You are to me, my God.