August 12: Don’t Covet

Read 1 Timothy 6:6-10
This week we are exploring the commandment, “Do not covet.” A wise friend of mine often says, “Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.” Why? Because the more we desire something, the more we build up and embellish it in our minds. Wouldn’t it be great to have all the money so-and-so has? I’d love to have a house/car/boat/you-name-it like them. If only I was in their shoes, just think of the prestige and fame that would be mine! I am also reminded of another wise saying: “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

The point here is two-fold. First, if we were to get what we think we want, we would most likely be very disappointed in how the reality falls far short of our puffed-up expectations. It doesn’t measure up. It gets old and out-dated. It breaks. Second, once attained, the objects of our desire often come with some very unexpected consequences. A big house/car/boat requires much cleaning, maintenance and expense. A long-awaited promotion includes loads of headaches and endless hours. What we have possess us instead of the other way around.

When we ignore the things God has already given us in striving for what we do not have, our level of contentment plummets. I find it very interesting that today’s passage mentions food and clothing but does not include the last of the big three we feel are absolutes – shelter. Would I be content with just food and clothing? Not even a little. The point here isn’t that I should aspire to live life like a homeless guy, but rather that my bar for contentment should be set very low.

Why would I be happier living this way? It isn’t too hard to grasp the idea that we can’t take anything with us when we leave this life. If God wants the absolute best for my time here on earth, verses 9 and 10 give me a glimpse into navigating that time successfully. Seeking the riches I think I want is a temptation and a trap of foolishness. Not only is it harmful, it will result in exactly what I don’t want: ruin and destruction. In wandering from contentment found in the family of faith, I only end up pierced with grief from chasing that which I can’t ultimately keep.

What are you chasing in your life?

Wade Karhan

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