I've been reading through the Old Testament some lately, and recently came across the 10 Commandments.  This time, the 10th one stood out to me (shortened by me) "you shall not covet your neighbor's house, wife, servant, ox, donkey...,or anything else."  The other commandments are such concrete, measurable sins: don't murder, don't make idols, keep the Sabbath.  But the 10th is so abstract; coveting is practically a feeling.  And how do you measure it?  Did I covet something today?  Is there a penalty for that?  It seemed weird to me that God would mention coveting among the big 10.

God knew we would be prone to this dangerous sin of coveting.  I remember the time I was sitting in China, having coffee with a close American friend there.  At the time, he was married with two amazing kids, and I was single.  We were chatting about life and making friends there, and he surprised by saying, "Ya know, Curt, sometimes I'm jealous of you.  You can get out and make friends with people here.  You're single and free to stay out late, playing pool and basketball with your friends, and you can learn Chinese faster that way too."

I was shocked!  "YOU, jealous of ME?  You're married.  With two adorable kids.  I eat Ramen noodles for dinner 3 times a week."  I was definitely jealous of him, going through a lonely phase of singleness, wishing I had a companion, and hoping one day to have kids.  We laughed as we realized how silly our jealousy was, and recognized we each had huge things to be thankful for: him for a great family, and me for freedom and more opportunities.

Now that I'm married, I understand my friend's sentiment.  I love Michelle and am so thankful for her, but at times I feel jealous of the single guys who can just go out and chill whenever they want.  And less responsibility!  The grass often looks greener on the other side, doesn't it?

No matter what your life situation is, someone is going to be better off than you.   Rather than coveting, God calls us to be thankful always (I Thess. 5:16)  He knew we would often choose to long for what other people had, while not being thankful for the things we have, but he gives us the alternative of thanksgiving.  We all have a choice today- to focus on what God has given us and be thankful, or to focus on what He has not yet given us, and covet others.  Let's choose thanksgiving!

Mom Kim
08/03/2011 12:58pm

Thanks for the good reminder!!! A great spiritual practice to help facilitate thankfulness is to write down 5 things I'm thankful for about that day, at the end of every day! and, of course, to then thank God for them. It really helps one's perspective and is good training!


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01/26/2012 5:06pm

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03/28/2012 4:32am

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07/15/2012 8:11am

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