Thou Shalt not Covet in the Kabad Kingdom
Coveting is bigger than any single behavior. Dan Boone, in his wonderful little book Dancing with the Law, has suggested that 'Coveting is a marriage of two of the seven deadly sins--one part envy, one part greed.' He also says that coveting is 'rooted in the other commandments. Lusting after the neighbor's wife leads toward adultery. Wanting the neighbor's land and farm animals leads toward stealing. Making these persons and their objects the aim of our life is akin to idolatry. The sin of coveting moves the commandments from deed to motive...(and) makes it impossible to be a good neighbor.' I completely agree with him on all counts. Coveting is more than just action, it is the underlying motive behind the breaking of all nine of the previous commandments. And herein lies the danger, for covetousness is not only not easy to detect because it is not necessarily an 'outward' behavior, it is the motive that drives us back to the top of the commandments and leads us to recklessly plow our way through each of the other nine, destroying relationship with God and humanity. To allow covetousness to rule is to say to God, 'You aren't enough for me, and you haven't provided for me adequately.'
So, when God says ‘thou shalt NOT’ in regard to coveting, what is He looking for from us instead?
What should life look like for us in the Kabad Kingdom as we not only avoid the practice of covetousness, but as we instead embrace a way of life that leads us in exactly the opposite direction? Paul shares some wisdom with his young protege Timothy that we can all profit from as well:
But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs...17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19)
These are wise words indeed, and indicative of the need for heart change in order to live and
thrive in the Kabad Kingdom. This passage describes a move from being a bad neighbor, dominated by a covetous heart, to being a good neighbor, 'generous and willing to share.' Here is an invitation to be content, assured that God has provided and that God is all one will ever need. Rather than just barely avoiding being covetous, Paul's appeal is to live life in exactly the opposite direction. This requires a heart change that only God can bring about, but we know He longs for us to experience this change because He has invited us to live life in the Kabad Kingdom. I think I'd like to live there - how about you? Won't you be my neighbor?
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