There was this bike when I was about 9 or 10 years old that I had to have. It was beat up and old. The seat was a leopard skin pattern, it was the 70s after all, but was faded and cracked. The frame was rusty and the tires were bald. I wanted that bike, though. My friend offered to sell it to me for $10. My heart jumped. It was so cool because the friend who owned it was older and I admired him because he was one of the “big boys.” I asked my dad for the money and he said, “What do you want that one for? It’s beat up. I’ll just buy you a new one.” I was not to be deterred, I wanted that bike and the thoughts of a new one didn’t register. He gave in, probably to teach me a lesson, and I rode it.
It wasn’t long, though, before the newness wore off and I saw all its flaws. My dad bought a new banana seat for it, an American flag seat because they were all the rage then. He bought a new sissy bar; your status in the neighborhood was partly determined by how high the sissy bar on your bike was! Those were cool but it was still that old bike.
I wanted it so bad, bad enough to turn down a new bike. When I got it, it wasn’t what it was cracked up to be. I finally got a new one when my dad accidently ran over the old one with his cookie van (he was the Archway Cookie distributor for Western Wisconsin)
The last of the Ten Commandments deals with my feelings toward that old bike. It tells us not to covet things other people own.
The Ten Commandments are important to us because they define God’s standards for right and wrong. We read them and obey them not because we are required to for our salvation but because we want to understand God’s plan for our lives and because we want to live in a way that pleases Him out of love.
Coveting is desiring something that belongs to someone else.
I coveted that bike. I wanted it with all my heart. When I got it, though, it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. It would have been better to appreciate what dad’s offer for a new bike that would have served me longer. I had to have that one but it didn’t make me happy.
That’s the way coveting works. We want what someone else has but when we get it, it isn’t what we hoped and we’re disappointed. God wants us to live happy, satisfied lives. He tells us to avoid the sin of coveting because it robs us of our sense of contentment, keeps us from appreciating the good things we already have, and develops a sense of unrest because we always want what we don’t have.
Be content. God has given every one of us blessings for which we can be thankful. Make an inventory this week of all the people and blessings that He has given you. You’ll be surprised at how rich you really are!
Rob Morton is minister of First Christian Church Middlesboro. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.