Monday, February 21, 2011

I want my neighbours ox

I had to drop my car of at the garage for a service this morning there was a beautiful brand new landrover discovery in the driveway as we pulled up. It got me thinking about a much under used word "covet".

Exodus 20: 17 “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.”

We don't use it much because we don't often covet our neighbours ox, yet I would say it is one of the major sins of our culture. Primarily because we are taught to covet from a young age. If coveting has a master, or a promoter, then that master is adverstising. We live in a society were we are taught not to be content.

When we read the words of Paul in Phillipians 4: 11 -12  "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want"

Advertising makes us discontent. Yet even advertising as the only Lord of Coveting would be too simplistic.

Coveting as Eugene Peterson so aptly put it; can also be "fantasising about a life other than the one you are already living"

Our own desires cause us to covet. I once read that the reason Mills and Boon novels were so popular amongst women was because it appealed to the fantasy side of there nature. It would help them imagine a life other than the one they were already living. In the late 90's internet use by men was all about the porn, whilst many young women went online in chat rooms pretending they were someone they were not!! Coveting happens with both sexes.

I have met men who have fantasised about their wife leaving them so they can start a new life with another woman. Or the man who works with a woman all day long and finds she talks to him more than his wife. He starts to covet that other woman, the sin has happened way before he eventually has an affair.

Anyway it's out there, coveting happens. I want the new white discovery tdi, I have bought into my culture, I have become discontent with what I have, forgotten about how much of a blessing my existing car is and I am off on a fantasy journey in my shiny new vehicle!!!!

Does this also happen in church? Do we covet others spirituality, their gifts, their service style, their congregation size????


Jonny said...

Good post ... but I think you're overestimating the longevity of widespread Internet use :) More like late-90s!

Brian said...

cheers Jonny glad you read it! Have changed it.