“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” Exodus 20:17
Q: What is the tenth commandment?
A: You shall not covet your neighbor´s house, your neighbor’s wife, or anything that is his.
What does this mean?
Because we worship and love God, we shouldn’t desire to have the things that belong to other people, but instead, we should help them protect what is theirs.
Human beings love to compare things. How high can you jump? How fast can you run? How strong are you? These are things boys usually like to talk and argue about when they are little.
We love to compare. This is the heart of coveting or envy.
As we get older we might be tempted to compare other things. “They have such a good marriage!” “Wow, I can’t believe how much money she makes. It’s way more than me!” “She has such beautiful hair. I wish I had that.” “Look at his car! My car is rusty and falling apart.”
We love to compare. Why do you think God wouldn’t want us to be consumed with comparison?
One of the reasons might be because He wants us to take our eyes off of things that are not eternal and fixate on that which is. Many of the things that other people have that we might be tempted to covet are things that will pass away with time. Beauty is fading, money never lasts, cars break down, and houses fall apart over time. But God wants us to be consumed with Him because no one can take Him away from us.
Read Luke 12:13–21:
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” ’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
- Did the rich man have his heart set on things of this world or things that are eternal?
- Can you relate to the rich man? Do you think he was envious?
Our Father, may we stop constantly comparing the things that You have given us against the things You have given others. Help us to be content. May our vision of You be so grand that the things of this world pale in comparison. In Jesus’ name, Amen.