And [Jesus] said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15
Do you ever look around and find yourself wanting what someone has? Of course. We all do. The new car. The newer gadget. The bigger house. The better vacation. The list goes on. We’re all prone to comparisons. And now with everyday social media engagement we’ve turned life into a big competitive game of “whose life is best” as friends and strangers appear to have the bigger, better, and best of fill-in-the-blank. Most people would say coveting is a normal human response and everyone does it. But, for those of us who want to live in Jesus’ way with Jesus’ heart, we hear him say, “be on your guard against all covetousness.”Jesus clearly instructs us to watch out for coveting or earnestly desiring what others have. Ouch. With all this comparison going around, what are we to do?
In Jesus’ next line, he says, “for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” We must understand coveting comes from an underlying belief and misplaced value system. Jesus knows we rank ourselves based on what we have or don’t have. And the underlying belief is that if we had more, we would be held in greater esteem by those around us.
The best practice to nip coveting in the bud is gratitude. The more we thank the Lord for what we do have, beyond physical stuff, the more our hearts and minds begin to value the things that truly make us rich. Coveting will rob us of joy but the greatest gifts in life actually amplify joy. We can buy a new pair of shoes and they won’t look at us back with joy. Only interactions with human beings who respond to us in love begin to increase our experience of joy. So, let’s put a reminder on our phones to spend every hour today thanking the Lord for who he’s placed in our life rather than the what. This will remind our hearts of what makes us truly rich and will certainly amplify joy.
By Yvonne Biel