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 belongs to your neighbor.
My neighbor owns a donkey and it really makes me wish I had one of my own. Life would be so much simpler if I only had a donkey to help carry my books to school or do yard work around the house. He’s got an ox as well. I get so jealous when I see them plowing the fields together. On some days I feel as if there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do to have one of my own. Man! Some people have it all!
Okay, so I don’t have a neighbor who owns an ox… I did have a college roommate who kept a donkey in his bathroom, but that’s another story. Regardless of how great or small your need for a good donkey is right now, I am convinced that the tenth and final commandment is still an important topic for you to consider studying. When one gets down to the truth behind this commandment they will find that it has very little to do with servants, donkeys, or even your everyday run-of-the-mill ox. The tenth commandment is about your desires and how you choose to let them rule your life.
Bombarded by television, advertisements, and the latest trends, it’s easy to get caught up in the “I deserve that” state of mind. This situation has escalated so greatly that even married men and women aren’t viewed as “off limits” to wandering eyes. A recently popular song only proves my point. “Don’t worry ’bout the ring you wear, just as long as no one knows, then nobody can care. Your feelin guilty and I’m well aware, but you don’t look ashamed and baby I’m not scared.” Great song, right? Wrong! The message is one of a self-serving and immoral mentality. “I know you belong to someone else, but we deserve each other” does not justify sin in God’s eyes. It doesn’t stop at this either. When was the last time you looked at a friend’s car or new outfit and felt sorry for yourself? What about that social group you want to become a part of so badly? Does your life revolve around the desire to become the next sports star, multimillionaire, or famous celebrity? All of these fall under the law of the tenth commandment. Webster’s definition of the word covet is, “to wish for something enviously.” I wonder what things you get a little envious about every time you see someone else who already has one.
Finally, let me offer one word of advice from the flip side of this commandment. Jesus’ words sum it up best. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt 16:26). In the end, greed and covetousness will be pointless; only one thing will matter… what did you do with the person of Jesus Christ? Our Lord commands us to seek Him first; when you and I allow ourselves to be swallowed whole by the green-eyed monster of jealousy and covetousness, we lower our Lord’s importance and impact in our lives. How low is yours?