Exodus 20, 17
Something to read
You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.
To read the King James Version, click here
Something to think about
According to Professor John Durham to covet is to “desire, yearn for, lust after something or someone, specifically for one’s own use or gratification”. Or as Queen express it in their song lyric, ‘I want it all! I want it all! I want it all! And I want it now.’
After a summer blighted by violence on our city streets, many believe that this kind of covetous greed has been one of the main motivators behind the chaotic scenes of looting and theft.
Yet the truth is that covetousness can affect us all. ‘From the moment we are born, our desires are being moulded by the world around us…’ writes J John, ‘We start to believe that the fulfilment of good desires is to be found in obtaining things. Covetousness promises contentment and fulfilment – but it is based on an illusion.’
We not only covet material things but also other people’s relationships, reputation, success, acclaim, and lifestyles etc.
But the scriptures suggest several antidotes to coveting – trust in God’s provision (Matt 6 v25ff.), contentment (Phil 4 v11ff.), gratitude (Phil 4 v6) and generosity (2 Cor 8 v2). The more we cultivate these godly virtues in our hearts the more the power of covetousness begins diminish.
Something to do
Write a list of everything for which you are grateful in your life and then give thanks to the Lord. Consider what from that list you might be able to generously share with someone else in order to bless them.
Something to pray
Let us rejoice in the Lord always,
showing gentleness to all,
not being anxious for anything,
making our needs known to God
by prayer, with thanksgiving;
and may God’s peace
guard our hearts and minds
in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Based on Philippians 4
Today’s contributor is the Rev Jeremy Allcock, Vicar of St. Stephen’s, Westbourne Park, west London, and Area Dean of Paddington.