Be Content with What Is Yours!


Coveting is ardently desiring what belongs to another. If indulged in, it can lead to the willingness to take an action that will deprive your neighbor of what is his.

The Ten Commandments, as an infallible roadmap or a perfect guide for our daily living, includes a warning against this vice in the Tenth Commandment (Ex. 20:17): “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” If obeyed, these commandments protect all of us; individuals and nations alike.

I remember the Aesop fable which brought this lesson home. In it a dog with a big bone is going home. He crosses a bridge and sees his shadow in the water below. The dog in the shadow seemed to have a bigger bone so he dives down in an effort to get the bone from the dog in the water. Of course, he loses his bone trying to get the other bone, and he goes home with nothing to eat as a result of his greed.

The dog in this example would have had his bone to eat had he not been greedy. Another example of this lesson is through the example of having several oranges in hand and wanting someone else’s. To get those that belong to another, you would have to open your hand; an action which would cause you to lose what you have in your hand. The likely result is ending up with nothing left in your hand.

Greed and covetousness stem from the limited sense of self. It signals lack of knowledge of the spiritual fact that every idea of God (which is what we are) possesses all that is ever needed. Knowing this, we can be grateful for others’ genuine bounty, knowing that this same bounty is available to every one of God’s children, and we affirm our own bounty from God’s continuing provision.

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