I don’t know about your family, but when our family reads the Bible together, it can get interesting. When the Israelites reached Mount Sinai, one of our children provided the thunder sound effects. When we read about the people grumbling and complaining in the desert, my kids were as indignant as Moses. When we came to the Ten Commandments, their reaction was mild until we cam to the last one:
“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 is your neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:17, ESV)
They couldn’t hold back the giggles. “Your neighbor’s ox?!? Your neighbor’s donkey?!? Oh man, my donkey stinks. Look at HIS donkey! Whoa, now that’s a nice donkey! And look at that ox!”
Who knew so much comedy could be found in the Ten Commandments? We don’t own oxen (enviable or otherwise) in our neighborhoods. But notice that last line: “… or anything that is your neighbor’s.” Forget his ox, do I covet his car? His boat? His amazing vacation? Do I wish I had her shoes? Her kitchen? Her perfect children? Will future generations giggle when they hear about how I pined over a neighbor’s new digital gadget?
The command against coveting shows that God cares about my thoughts. God looks to see if the daily bread He provides will be received with gratitude. Will I be content with what I have or will my heart be longing for what others have? The person who trusts in God and delights in the blessings from His hand can live simply. Turn your heart away from your neighbor’s ox (no giggling, kids, this is serious!) and walk in the joy of contentment.